Sun, Oct 15, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Keuchel fans 10, as the Astros clip the Yankees

A BIT OF MAGIC:Dallas Keuchel is the third Astros pitcher to record a double-digit strikeout game in the playoffs, with the last achieved in the 1986 NL Championship Series

AFP, HOUSTON, Texas

The Houston Astros’ Dallas Keuchel pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees on Friday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

Photo: AFP

Dallas Keuchel delivered 10 strikeouts in seven shutout innings as the Houston Astros edged the New York Yankees 2-1 in the opening game of their Major League Baseball playoff series.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch had no worries going with Keuchel as his starting pitcher in game one of the AL Championship Series as the left-hander has owned the Yankees in seven career starts against them.

Keuchel on Friday continued that mastery, giving up just four hits and walking one in front of a crowd of 43,100 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

“There’s really no hard explanation for it,” Keuchel said. “I think it’s just pitch execution and it’s just been there more times than it hasn’t against the Yankees.”

He is the third pitcher in franchise history to record a double-digit strikeout game in the playoffs, joining Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott who did it in games one and five of the 1986 National League Championship Series.

After tossing 97 pitches through six innings, Keuchel returned for the seventh and vanquished the Yankees in order.

He retired the final six batters he faced and improved to 6-2 overall with a 1.09 ERA against the Yankees, including a pair of playoff victories.

Keuchel worked six scoreless innings while pitching Houston to a 3-0 win in the 2015 AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium in New York.

New York’s starter Masahiro Tanaka, of Japan, worked six strong innings, allowing four hits and one walk with three strikeouts, but he could not match Keuchel’s magic.

“Really another strong outing,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Tanaka. “Just a really good outing.”

The Astros mustered all the offense they would need in the fourth inning.

Jose Altuve delivered the first hit of the game off right-hander Tanaka with a one-out single before adding a stolen base that put him in scoring position for Carlos Correa.

Correa followed with a single that plated Altuve.

A couple of batters later, Correa came home on a Yuli Gurriel single to center field.

Altuve produced the only multi-hit game of the opener, finishing three-for-four.

Astros closer Ken Giles tallied a five-out save. He surrendered a two-out home run to Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, but did not panic.

After Bird’s homer, he struck out pinch hitter Jacoby Ellsbury to end the contest.

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