ANAHEIM -- The frustration was palpable. Sure, the Astros rallied to beat the Angels in the 10th inning Friday night, 7-6, after a messy ninth inning in which they blew a four-run lead, but ace Dallas Keuchel lamented not being able to polish off another complete game.
Keuchel went to the mound in the ninth inning with a four-run lead and a chance to go the distance after throwing 95 pitches in his first eight innings, but three straight singles to start the ninth ended his night. Ken Giles couldn't close the door, and Keuchel was left with a no-decision and pocketful of dissatisfaction.
"It was really frustrating," Keuchel said. "I wish they would have gotten some of those soft hits early in the game. It would have been a lot easier on me. That's really poor by me and just really frustrating. We got the win and that's really all that matters."
Keuchel, making his first start since being named the American League Pitcher of the Month for April, allowed five runs and seven hits in eight innings of work. He has pitched at least seven innings in a career-long nine consecutive outings, which is the longest active streak in the Majors.
"I'm never surprised by how Dallas pitches," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's always under control. He barely had an inning over 12, 13 pitches. He was in pretty good control of the game. Obviously, the home runs [hurt]. Pujols hit his pretty well, and Maldonado got one a little into the wind. It looked like that was going to be a difficult thing to overcome because we couldn't get anything started, but good win at the end."
Maldonado started the ninth with a single to left, and leadoff hitter Yunel Escobar followed with a single to right to put runners at first and second. A soft single to center by Cameron Maybin loaded the bases and forced Hinch to the mound to pull Keuchel after 103 pitches.
"They were looking over the plate and they got a couple of two-seams up and Pujols has been pretty good for a reason," Keuchel said of the homers. "When he picks his pitch to go get, he gets it. He's going to hit it. Maldonado, you've got to give credit to him, too. First home run of the year. That's frustrating. This guy is a professional, but it's a guy I should get out. You have to give credit where credit is due. He did his job.
"It's really frustrating, especially going out for the ninth and smelling it and knowing it was there. Everybody in the building knew it was there."
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.