Lack of command costs Keuchel vs. Crew

Astros ace walks six, including four in first inning

Lack of command costs Keuchel vs. Crew

MILWAUKEE -- For the second start in a row, Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel battled early command problems before being able to settle in and iron out most of the kinks. But unlike five days earlier in New York, Keuchel's control problems cost him at Miller Park.

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner tied a career high by walking six batters -- one intentionally -- and needed 110 pitches to grind through 5 2/3 innings in the Astros' 3-2 loss to the Brewers on Sunday. He struck out eight batters and gave up three runs and six hits.

"I had some good, late movement but couldn't really corral it in the strike zone," Keuchel said. "You have to credit their guys for laying off and making me come over the plate. I felt good right off the bat, and it's just unfortunate that I wasn't able to really hone in on that last late movement. Sloppy game and we can't have that."

Keuchel walked three of the first four batters he faced and then gave up a two-run single to Aaron Hill. He walked a fourth batter in the first to load the bases again, but wriggled out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts. In two starts this year, he's walked 10 batters in 12 2/3 innings.

Brewers load bases, score two

"I mean, it puts a lot of pressure on myself," he said. "Having a decent two-seam and a pretty good slider, I feel like in any situation I'm just one pitch away. But the leadoff homer by [Jose] Altuve kind of gave us some momentum and then I kind of just shot us in the foot myself."

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he thought Keuchel was "excitable" early and rushing through his delivery.

"It was more of a lack of feel for him, which is uncommon for him," Hinch said. "He adjusted very well, even to get deep into the game, into the sixth, was a job well done because of how the game started -- to escape in the first with two and keep us in the game. He went as long as he could and probably had a little more left in the tank, but again, kind of got behind and rarely do you see this many walks out of him in the first couple of games."

Keuchel strikes out eight

Keuchel can take solace his next start will come at Minute Maid Park on Friday against the Tigers. He went 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA at home last year.

"I think we'd like to play in a little bit warmer weather, but at the same time we've got to come out and have some intensity," he said. "It was really sloppy today. It started with me. I've got to get my act straight because everybody else is looking toward me. It was just really sloppy."

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.