HOUSTON -- He's been the best pitcher in the American League this season, and one of the best at home in the history of the game.
Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel took another step toward winning the AL Cy Young Award by becoming the league's first 17-game winner, allowing three solo homers and striking out 12 batters in an 8-5 win over the Twins on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
Keuchel (17-6), who has been named AL Pitcher of the Month three times this season, improved to 13-0 with a 1.49 ERA at home, setting a franchise record by winning his 14th consecutive home decision (Danny Darwin had the previous record in 1989-90).
"I try to do my job every fifth day out, whether that's at home or on the road, I'll take them as they come," said Keuchel, whose next two starts are on the road, where he's 4-6 with a 3.35 ERA. "But it's definitely been nice to pitch at home with the support we've had this year, kind of the turnaround we've made. I'll take it, but I like to pitch well on the road as well."
What's more, Keuchel became the Astros' first 17-game winner since Roy Oswalt in 2008 and tied a Major League record by winning his first 13 decisions at home in a season. That hadn't been accomplished since 1946 and had been done three times since 1914.
"A good game by Dallas," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He is going to challenge the strike zone, and when he does leave a mistake or two up, against some home run-style hitters, it can come back to bite him a little bit."
"I gave them up today," he said. "I have to figure that one out. Three bad pitches, and they did what they were supposed to do. I thought that was going to be the difference in the game but we came through when we needed to most."