HOUSTON -- There is nothing more automatic in baseball these days than Dallas Keuchel winning at Minute Maid Park. The Astros' All-Star left-hander remained unbeaten at home and became the American League's first 16-game winner by throwing seven strong innings and benefiting from three home runs to beat the Mariners, 8-3, on Monday night.
Keuchel (16-6) held the Mariners to six hits and one run -- a second-inning homer by Mark Trumbo -- to improve to 12-0 at Minute Maid Park this season. He also extended his club record by throwing at least six innings in his 38th consecutive start while throwing a season-high 121 pitches.
"We like the crowd here, we like the atmosphere, and it was nice to see," Keuchel said. "I think we play well on the road, it just doesn't translate as many times as it does here."
The game turned in the fourth, when Keuchel escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam by getting a double play and a strikeout, and Jed Lowrie and Hank Conger bashed solo homers in the bottom of the inning.
"The double play was obviously the key play of the game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Any time you're talking about pitcher defense, I think most people might roll their eyes at it. I think when people watch Dallas on a daily basis, start by start, he creates a lot of outs. And it's a big part of his ability to stay in games a long time."
Mariners starter Vidal Nuno (0-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings, giving up homers to Lowrie and Conger and a two-run blast by rookie Carlos Correa in the fifth inning that made it 5-1. Correa's 16th homer is second only to Alex Rodriguez (26) for the most hit by a shortstop younger than 21.
"Giving up those home runs killed me a little bit," said Nuno. "I was leaving balls up, not finding my fastball."
Division-leading Houston improved to a season-high-tying 14 games over .500 while increasing its lead over second-place Texas to four games, while Seattle fell to 61-71.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED No trouble for Trumbo: Keuchel has been nearly untouchable at home, but the Mariners' first baseman took him deep with an opposite-field solo home run in the second to tie the game at 1. It was the first homer Keuchel has given up at Minute Maid Park in 17 starts, dating back to Aug. 10, 2014. But Trumbo has had Keuchel's number before, as he's 6-for-13 with a double, two triples, three homers and seven RBIs now in his career against the Astros' ace. Trumbo added a two-run shot off Oliver Perez in the ninth to close the Mariners' scoring, his 19th of the season and 10th with Seattle. More >
Keuchel escapes trouble: Keuchel sent down nine of the first 10 hitters he faced before the Mariners put together a serious threat in the fourth inning by loaded the bases with no outs. Keuchel got Franklin Gutierrez to hit a broken-bat comebacker to the mound, resulting in a 1-2-3 double play. He then struck out Trumbo to escape the jam unscathed.
"It was very big," Keuchel said. "It wasn't an ideal situation, but I was thankful enough to make some pitches and induce some weak contact." More >
Altuve ties record: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve capped his red-hot August by going 3-for-5 to finish the month with 45 hits, which ties the franchise record for hits in the month (Jesus Alou, 1970). Altuve reached based in all 28 games he played in August, which is a career-long streak and the second-longest active streak in the Majors.
"He's got a knack for getting hits," Lowrie said. "It's amazing. He's probably the best hitter I've ever played with." More >
It's Miller's time in center: With the pregame trade of Austin Jackson to the Cubs, Brad Miller now becomes Seattle's starting center fielder after playing shortstop most of his career. Miller made his fourth start of the year in center and hauled in a deep drive by Marwin Gonzalez in the fifth. The 25-year-old also went 2-for-3 against Keuchel -- not an easy feat for a lefty against the Astros standout -- and stole a base.
"I've been misquoted on Keuchel a lot. Listen, he doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he knows how to pitch. He uses his arsenal very well. He's in and out, up and down, changes speeds. He's pretty good." -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.
"I don't think I've had a stretch that long in my career where I've hit balls as consistently hard as I was without getting a hit. It's a funny game." -- Lowrie, whose fourth-inning homer snapped an 0-for-28 funk.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Nuno's streak of starts without a victory has now reached 20 -- the longest run in the Majors -- as his last win as a starter came on June 27, 2014, while he was with the Yankees.. He's 0-10 with a 4.88 ERA in those 20 starts for the Yankees, D-backs and now Mariners.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
McClendon successfully challenged an out call on a stolen-base attempt by Miller in the fifth. After a review, the call was overturned and Miller was awarded his 12th stolen base of the season.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Left-hander Roenis Elias (4-7, 4.20) makes his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma in Tuesday's 5:10 p.m. PT game at Minute Maid Park. The 27-year-old is 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA in five starts against the Astros.
Astros: Right-hander Scott Feldman, whose 1.33 August ERA was the lowest in the American League, tries to get September off on the right foot when he faces the Mariners on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. Feldman has allowed just four earned runs in his last 27 innings of work.