Greinke outduels Keuchel as D-backs beat Astros

Greinke outduels Keuchel as D-backs beat Astros

HOUSTON -- Zack Greinke snapped the Astros' five-game winning streak by holding them scoreless over seven innings to send the D-backs to a 3-0 win over Dallas Keuchel in a rematch of 2015 All-Star Game starting pitchers Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros' offense, which had scored 21 runs in the previous three games against Arizona, was shut out for only the second time this year. Greinke (7-3) retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced and allowed only four singles without any walks and 11 strikeouts.

"He was just masterful out there," Arizona manager Chip Hale said of Greinke. "He used all his pitches; he used his curveball a lot more than he has the last few outings. … Just did a great job against a team that's been extremely hot-hitting against us in a good ballpark to hit in."

Keuchel (3-7) carried a shutout into the seventh before the first four batters reached. Rickie Weeks Jr. singled and scored on a Welington Castillo double, and Chris Owings chased Keuchel one batter later with an RBI single. Nick Ahmed's sac fly off Pat Neshek made it 3-0.

Ahmed's sacrifice fly

"[Greinke] definitely controlled the game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He had a lot going for him. He's one of the most prepared pitchers in the game. You give him three games to watch your team, it's not surprising he comes out with a pretty effective game plan."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Greinke gets going: Arizona may finally be getting the ace it paid for this offseason. Greinke showed the Cy Young-level form he has produced at every stop in his career to date, locking the Astros down with a season-high 11 strikeouts in his fourth straight win. He also salvaged the four-game home-and-home set for the D-backs. Greinke didn't allow a walk or a home run for the first time this season and has now produced quality starts in three of his last four games.

"We've been playing really well in the games I've pitched," Greinke said. "This was actually probably the least amount of runs we've scored in my games. I feel confident in what we got going right now." More >

Greinke strikes out 11

Dallas derailed in seventh: Keuchel, coming off one of his best performances of the season, was rolling through six innings, having set down 12 of 13 hitters before hitting a wall in the seventh. He allowed the first three batters to reach on a single, double and a hit by pitch. All three would score to send the D-backs to the win.

"Just seems like every pitch I throw, the game hinges on it," Keuchel said. "That's a tough feeling. Greinke was as good as advertised. I thought the game was a very good pitchers' duel. The two hardest-hit balls they hit off me all game were in the seventh, and that's it." More >

Keuchel strikes out six

Catalyst Castillo: After tiptoeing around Keuchel's nasty sinker and changeup all game, Castillo opened the floodgates for Arizona in the seventh. The catcher cranked an RBI double deep onto Tal's Hill to break a scoreless pitchers' duel and set Keuchel up for the KO moments later. Per Statcast™, Castillo's shot traveled 419 feet -- a home run in almost any other Major League park -- and came off the bat at 105.9 mph. While he still hasn't homered since May 3, Castillo's 2-for-4 day halted his 5-for-34 skid at the plate.

"If you watch the film of Keuchel, he was living right at the knees or below, and that's when he's really tough," Hale said. "Then, he left one up to Welington. That's one of the few pitches he left up in the zone, and Welly got it and broke the ice. … Welly can hit, we know he can hit and it was a big hit."

Castillo's RBI double

QUOTABLE
"I don't throw that hard, but if you're going to square him up in the hand, he's coming out of the game," -- Keuchel, on his seventh-inning hit by pitch of Jake Lamb on a ball that appeared to hit the knob

REPLAY REVIEWS
Astros manager A.J. Hinch unsuccessfully challenged a hit by pitch in the seventh inning. Lamb was awarded first base when a pitch from Keuchel appeared to hit him in the hand, but the Astros challenged, saying the ball hit the knob of the bat.

Umpires rule Lamb hit by a pitch

In the eighth, Hinch asked for a crew chief review when Michael Bourn was called safe at second trying to steal. The call was overturned, meaning Bourn was out on a caught stealing on a throw from catcher Evan Gattis.

Umpires rule Bourn out at second

WHAT'S NEXT
D-backs: Youngster Archie Bradley gets the ball as Arizona opens a three-game set in Chicago at 11:20 a.m. MT on Friday. The 23-year-old hurler is making just his fourth start of the season and has shown steady improvement each time out. Bradley lasted a career-high 7 1/3 innings in his most recent outing, allowing three runs against the Padres on Sunday.

Astros: Veteran right-hander Doug Fister (4-3, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound when the Astros open a three-game series against the A's at 7:10 p.m. CT on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Fister has quality starts in his last eight outings, with the Astros going 6-2 in that stretch..

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Chris Abshire is a contributor for MLB.com and covered the Diamondbacks on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.