By August Fagerstrom and Brian McTaggart
CLEVELAND -- The Astros put their foot on the gas in the first inning and didn't let up, collecting 16 hits, including 10 against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, for a 9-4 series-opening victory at Progressive Field on Monday night.
"We swung the bats extremely well and I thought our game plan against Carrasco was great," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We executed it. We had three or four guys getting on base three or more times. When you have big nights like that out of multiple guys, it's usually a good sign. Good effort on the first game of the series against a good pitcher."
Six of Houston's first seven batters reached base as the Astros accumulated an early 4-0 advantage. Preston Tucker (4-for-5) tacked on another run with a solo homer in the fourth inning, and Carrasco lasted just one more batter. The 28-year-old righty allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and a walk in four innings. He struck out five.
"He didn't feel like he had his best stuff and it seemed like, because of that, he kind of went away from the things that make him good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He started throwing a lot of two-seamers and trying to pick a little bit."
All-Star lefty Dallas Keuchel earned a quality start for Houston, allowing three earned runs on nine hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out eight, and extended his streak of completing at least six innings to 29 starts, the longest active streak in the Majors. He also became the first American League pitcher to reach 11 wins.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Not this time: In Carrasco's previous start, he had his opposition down to its final out of the game before allowing a hit. This time, the first batter he faced tagged him for a hit, and then four more followed in the inning. Jose Altuve, Tucker, Evan Gattis, Colby Rasmus and Marwin Gonzalez all made solid contact against Carrasco, putting up four runs in the first frame to give the Astros a comfortable advantage with which to work.
"I knew at the start of the game that I didn't have my best command," Carrasco said. "When you come in like that they're going to hit you, and that's what happened."
Happy birthday, Preston: Tucker celebrated his 25th birthday by setting a career high in hits, going 4-for-5 with a homer, to lead the Astros' 16-hit attack. Tucker, who's starting in right field in place of the injured George Springer, had just four hits in his previous 23 at-bats prior to Monday's performance. He also finished a triple shy of the cycle. More >
"He's using all parts of the field again," Hinch said. "He got a little pull happy the last couple of weeks and I think it hurt him. He's getting back to using the middle of the field. He's gotten a couple of base hits to left. He's beaten the shift a couple of times, which is important."
Keuchel rolls: Despite giving up a season-high nine hits, Keuchel won his third consecutive start to become the first pitcher in the AL to reach 11 victories on the day he was named to the AL All-Star team. He leads the AL with 14 quality starts. More >
"They've got some very quality hitters over there and they put some quality swings on balls, even some of the balls that were caught, and I'm just thankful to get through six," Keuchel said.
Still streaking: Second baseman Jason Kipnis, who was named to the All-Star team earlier in the day, got the Tribe on the board with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, scoring Giovanny Urshela, who led off the frame with a double. Kipnis later singled in the fifth inning, extending his Progressive Field-record hitting streak to 29 games. Kipnis is two games away from tying the franchise record home hitting streak of 31 games, set by Hal Trosky in 1936. More >
"He's just been a force," Francona said. "Whether it's at the plate, at second, on the bases, he's played the game with such a vengeance. It's been fun to watch. We've had our share of ups and downs as a team, and thankfully, he has been a force pretty much the whole time."
"He called me. I answered. And he said, 'What's up?' And I said, 'Nothing, how you doing?' And I said, 'Did I get traded? Released?' He said, 'No, you made the All-Star team.' And I said, 'Oh.' And it took a minute to kind of sink in, and that was it, and he said, 'I'll see you at the field.'" -- Keuchel, on how Hinch told him he had made the AL squad
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Altuve extended his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 14 games by going 2-for-4. It's the longest active streak in the AL.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Rookie right-hander Vincent Velasquez (0-0, 4.21 ERA) will start when the Astros face the Indians at 6:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Progressive Field. Velasquez didn't get a decision in his first five big league starts, which ties a Major League record.
Indians: Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (3-9, 3.64 ERA) will take the mound for Cleveland on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET, facing the Astros for the first time since Opening Day. Despite solid numbers, Kluber is 0-4 in his last six starts, with his most recent win coming on May 28.
August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.