HOUSTON -- The All-Star Game rematch between Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and Zack Greinke of the D-backs lived up to its billing, at least for six innings. The seventh proved to be the difference for Keuchel and the Astros in Thursday's 3-0 loss at Minute Maid Park.
Keuchel carried a shutout into the seventh before the first four Arizona batters reached, leading to the only three runs the D-backs would need in support of Greinke, who tossed seven scoreless innings. Keuchel (3-7) took the loss despite his second consecutive quality start.
"I don't take these losses lightly," Keuchel said. "It wears on you, and I have to be better."
Rickie Weeks Jr. started the frame with a sharp single to center, and Welington Castillo scored him with a double to center field. Keuchel tried to go up and in to Jake Lamb and appeared to hit the knob of his bat, but Lamb was awarded first base. The Astros challenged, but the call stood after the review, which meant there wasn't enough video evidence to overturn it.
"It definitely hit he knob," Keuchel said. "He stayed in the game. He's not staying in the game if I hit him in the hand. 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."
With a wheel play on expecting a bunt, Chris Owings shot a single right where shortstop Carlos Correa would have been positioned to score the second run. That was the end for Keuchel after 98 pitches (61 strikes).
"I thought Dallas matched [Greinke] early until the seventh inning, and they put together back-to-back-to-back-to-back quality at-bats," manager A.J. Hinch said. "One of them was a hit by pitch, which I still think hit the knob of the bat. A leadoff single, and then the big double. They put two swings on Dallas really the whole day that created any sort of havoc.
"I was proud of how he pitched. I thought he threw great. He didn't have much room for error against Greinke. He knew that going in. It really lived up to exactly what everybody expected right up until that moment."
This wasn't one of those outings that figures to keep Keuchel up at night. It was another step forward in what has been a rough season as he continues to show signs of recapturing his American League Cy Young Award form.
"I was making good pitches," Keuchel said. "The only pitch I would take back right now is the Castillo ball that kind of ran back over the heart of the plate. Other than that, I'll take that Rickie Weeks single all day. It was a good pitch away, and he was looking away. You can't always be better than the hitter, and I thought for the most part of the day I was pretty crisp."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.