DETROIT -- A four-pitch walk to Detroit's Ian Kinsler to start the game was only the beginning of the troubles for Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel on Sunday.
Keuchel was rocked for seven runs, seven hits, three walks and two home runs in five innings as the Astros were swept by the Tigers in an 11-0 loss at Comerica Park. The Tigers jumped on him for six runs in the first inning, including a grand slam off the bat of catcher James McCann.
"I never really feel like I'm going to have a four-pitch walk to start off the game, but I think as bad as I felt, a couple tough-luck plays just kind of extended the inning with two outs," Keuchel said. "Left an elevated pitch up to McCann and that was the difference-maker. Other than that, looking at a 1-0 ballgame."
When he was struggling earlier in the year, Keuchel's mechanics weren't great, but manager A.J. Hinch said Sunday it simply came down to execution.
"I don't think he felt great coming out of the chute and then he settled in nicely," Hinch said. "They took advantage of him not being sharp coming out of the bullpen."
The clunker by Keuchel ended his run of seven consecutive quality starts. He had posted a 2.72 ERA in his past seven starts and appeared to have returned to the form he had last year when he won the American League Cy Young Award.
Keuchel pitched well after the first inning, allowing just a homer to Miguel Cabrera.
"I just made better pitches," he said. "I stuck with a majority of my fastball. The only pitch I got burned on was a breaking ball."
Had Keuchel been able to keep McCann in the ballpark with two outs, his performance Sunday could have been headed in a different direction.
"The grand slam is a killer," Hinch said. "We left 11 or 12 guys on base. We didn't take advantage of any opportunities that we had. That doesn't matter whether the game's close or the game's spread out a little bit. You try to take advantage of it all the times you can."
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.