Keuchel affected by long rest between starts

Keuchel affected by long rest between starts

OAKLAND -- Taking the mound on eight days' rest was something Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel would like to avoid, but it certainly didn't seem to have a negative effect on the way he pitched in Tuesday's 4-3, 10-inning loss to the A's at the Coliseum.

Keuchel, however, said he thought he extra rest threw him off despite his sixth consecutive quality start. He's 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last six starts and was in line for his fourth consecutive win Tuesday before the Astros faltered in the ninth and fell in the 10th.

"Dallas was great," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He had dominated until the end and then was one pitch away from maybe a double play, and he ends up giving up a double and they nicked him for a couple of runs, but really quality outing by him."

Keuchel hadn't pitched since July 10 because of the All-Star break. He was slotted into the fifth game in the schedule coming out of the break and then threw a season-high 116 pitches.

"[Eight] days off kind of threw me off, and I got pretty tired there at the end," he said. "They got two [runs in the seventh]. I had to battle all night. A lot of 3-2 counts and was able to establish the fastball in and work the cutter and two-seam off that and did some good, but other than that, I felt real rusty. [Eight] days off, that's tough for a control pitcher like myself."

Keuchel carried a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up a single to Billy Butler and a double to Jake Smolinski to put runners at second and third with no outs. Both runners eventually scored on a Ryon Healy double off Ken Giles.

"I left a few pitches up," Keuchel said. "Like I said, I was getting a little tired, but still trying to get that last pitch and didn't get it tonight. That's tough, but at the same time, there's a lot of positives to this game, and hopefully we'll take some out of that."

Keuchel said the long layoff was like skipping a full turn on the rotation.

"I had just started finding my groove [before the break]," he said. "I felt like the days off was a little excessive, but at the same time, I know we have to keep other guys on rest. So be it. We'll look to be a little bit better next time out, and be a little bit more 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.