Brandon McCarthy (1-8, 5.13) vs Dallas Keuchel (7-3, 2.50)
We should not be surprised anymore when Dallas Keuchel turns in another great pitching performance. We can, however, certainly continue to be impressed. cHRis Carter's light tower power is equally impressive, whenever he manages to make contact. Back in Houston for the AL half of this home-and-home series with "archrival" Arizona, both Keuchel and Carter were on top of their games tonight. Eight strong innings from Keuchel, two home runs from Carter, and the Astros walk away winners by a 5-1 final. They move back to 7 games under .500 (and stay 2.5 back of the Rangers) at 30-37.
On the Mound:
*Another day, another dominant start for Kid Keuchy. One mistake fastball to Aaron Hill in the 4th was destroyed, which kept this from being Keuchel's fourth scoreless outing in the last month. But one mistake is allowable when the rest of your night goes like this: 8 IP / 4 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K. That was good for Keuchel's 7th quality start in a row, and his 11th in 13 starts this season. His ERA is now 2.38.
*Chad Qualls was called upon to preserve the 4-run lead in the 9th, and that's precisely what he did - three up, three down on 10 pitches to slam the door. His ERA is now 1.99.
At the Plate:
*Before the game, the Astros announced the signing of slugging 2nd round draft pick A.J. Reed, but cHRis Carter took tonight to show that he's not ready to give up his DH role just yet. For the second time this season, Carter went deep twice - both solo shots, one to left, one to right - and finished 2x4. The home runs were his 11th and 12th of the year, tying him with George Springer for the team lead.
*Jose Altuve missed his first game of the season, but George Springer returned to the lineup and took Altuve's place in the 2-hole, driving in one on a sacrifice fly in the 7th and finishing 2x3 with a run scored.
*Jason Castro drove in the first run of the night with a RBI single in the 2nd, ending his night 1x3 with a walk.
*Alex Presley started in left and went 2x4 with a run scored.
*Jonathan Villar rediscovered his stroke for the night and went 2x3 with a steal and a run scored.
*Jonathan Singleton was 0x3, but did walk once, and he drove in a run on a sharp grounder to first that resulted in an unconventional 3-4-3 putout there.
*No OBP magic for Dexter Fowler tonight, as he went 0x4 with 3 K.
The Astros led 2-0 after Singleton's RBI groundout in the bottom of the 3rd, but Arizona's Aaron Hill quickly cut that lead in half with a solo home run off the Community Partners signs in left to lead off the 4th. In Houston's half of the 4th, Matt Dominguez grounded out starting off, but then Chris Carter took the first pitch he saw to almost the same spot as Hill's home run, putting the Astros back ahead by 2. Leading off the 7th, Carter would homer again, making the score 4-1 and giving Dallas Keuchel more support than he needed.
Man of the Match:
Co-MotM again, given to Keuchel and Carter.
Goat of the Game:
Matt Dominguez. 0x4 with a K at the plate, and a fielding error in the second letting Cody Ross reach.