Unbeaten Keuchel gets HR support, Astros beat Blue Jays
HOUSTON (AP) Houston Astros starter Dallas Keuchel thinks his luck might be running out.
It didn't affect his winning ways on Friday night.
Keuchel remained unbeaten as the Houston Astros backed him with plenty of home run support in an 8-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
''I can't keep having self-inflicted wounds,'' Keuchel said. ''I can't keep putting myself in those situations and keep expecting to get out of them. That's not the way this game is meant to go. I think the law of averages is catching up to me, and I've got to do a better job of keeping my foot on the gas.''
Keuchel (5-0), April's AL Pitcher of the Month, allowed four or more runs in consecutive starts for the first time since last July.
''His first six starts, he dominated,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''It's hard to keep that pace up. I think it speaks more about the domination that he had at the beginning of the season and less about the struggles or anything like that.''
Keuchel also received plenty of run support.
Jose Altuve hit a three-run homer and George Springer and Luis Valbuena also connected as the Astros won their third in a row.
Keuchel won his seventh straight decision overall. He gave up eight hits and struck out five in six innings.
Altuve and Springer homered off R.A. Dickey (1-5) as Houston built a 7-1 lead after four innings. After recently losing six of eight, the Astros have gotten back to the outpouring of offense that put them into the AL West lead.
Houston's eight runs marked its highest output since May 2 in an 11-4 win over Seattle.
The Astros scored three times in the second on a sacrifice fly by Chris Carter and RBI singles from Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick.
Altuve launched a home run 422 feet to deep left-center field in the fourth.
''Every time the team hits two or three homers, with the pitching staff we have, we're going to have a good chance to win the game,'' Altuve said.
Altuve hit his fifth homer nearly three months earlier than his fifth homer came in 2014 where he totaled seven.
''He's certainly hunting for the opportunities to do damage,'' Hinch said. ''There's a powerful swing in there. He's going to some big parts of the ballpark. That's big-man territory when he hits the ball on the barrel.''
The Blue Jays closed to 7-4 in the sixth. Danny Valencia hit a two-run double and Chris Colabello followed with an RBI single.
Valbuena hit his ninth homer of the season, tagging Ryan Tepera in the seventh.
One start removed from a masterful eight-inning, one-run outing against the Yankees on May 4, Dickey gave up seven runs and 10 hits in five innings.
Toronto has now lost three straight and five of six.
''They've got a good club,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ''They outplayed us again tonight. That's all it was.''
Josh Donaldson extended his streak of reaching base safely against the Astros to 33 straight games, the longest streak against one team in the majors.
ASTROS PROSPECT ON THE WAY
Help is on the way for the struggling back end of Houston's rotation. Right-hander Lance McCullers will make his major league debut Monday night against Oakland. McCullers, a 21-year-old, 41st overall pick in 2012, is 3-1 with a 0.62 ERA this season at Double-A Corpus Christi.
HOUSTON ROSTER MOVES
The Astros signed RHP Jose Veras to a minor league contract on Friday. Veras will report to Houston's Extended Spring Training in Kissimmee, Florida, before an eventual assignment to Triple-A Fresno. Veras spent the majority of 2014 with the Astros, going 4-0 with one save and a 3.03 ERA. ... Houston also traded Triple-A IF Ronald Torreyes to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (1-2, 3.54 ERA) tries for his first winning streak since last June 25. After beginning the season with an 0.84 ERA in 10 2-3 innings of relief, he has struggled since joining the rotation.
Astros: RHP Scott Feldman (2-4, 5.23 ERA) tries to snap a two-loss skid, during which he has an 8.10 ERA so far in May. Feldman has five quality starts in seven outings in 2015 but has yet to turn them into consistent wins.
Blue Jays: INF Jose Reyes (cracked rib/oblique strain) could begin a rehab assignment next week after he took full batting practice on Friday, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said... OF Michael Saunders will likely be out for the next 4-6 weeks to rest a surgically repaired left knee. Saunders was placed on the disabled list on May 10 and has played in just nine games this year.