HOUSTON (AP) Dallas Keuchel completed one of the best months of his career with arguably his best start of the season.
Keuchel threw 7 2/3 solid innings, Marwin Gonzalez hit a three-run home run and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 7-2 on Sunday.
Keuchel (5-0) struck out nine, while allowing one run on three hits and two walks.
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”I don’t know about best stuff, but that’s probably the best command I have had in awhile,” Keuchel said. ”I’m going to continue to attack the zone and get some early contact and let the defense work.”
The left-hander has thrown at least seven innings in every outing this season. He became the second pitcher in Astros history to get five wins in April, joining Roger Clemens, who went 5-0 in 2004.
”He was really good,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch. ”He was pretty good last time too but just his command and control of himself, of his pitches, of his fastball, his changeup – he did everything right. . I was proud of how he pitched and competed. He was pretty locked in.”
The Astros finished April 16-9, marking the third time in franchise history and first time since 2006 when they were 16-8, the club has won at least 16 games in the month.
”It is satisfying for sure, but it’s only April,” Keuchel said. ”We have a long ways to go. .We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. We will take that.”
After Trevor Plouffe doubled with one out in the first, Keuchel retired 10 straight and 13 of the next 14 batters he faced.
”He’s got a good sinker, good cutter, good slider, good changeup – he’s got four pitches, and you just try to grind on him a little bit and stay close to him,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Keuchel. ”Hopefully you can get him out of the game.”
Ken Giles earned his sixth save after getting Yonder Alonso to fly out with the bases loaded.
Gonzalez hit his home run off the right field foul pole in eighth.
Carlos Correa laced an RBI double in the first to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. Evan Gattis had an RBI double in the fourth, before Brian McCann hit a two-run single in the fifth extending the lead to 4-0.
Ryon Healy cut the lead to 4-1 with an RBI single in the eighth, and Chad Pinder had a run-scoring single in the ninth.
Jesse Hahn (1-2) gave up four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts in six innings.
”I think I got a little better as the game went on,” Hahn said. ”I thought I battled really well, but I did get myself in some situations that I could have handled better to minimize them early on.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea, who left his last start with shoulder tightness, was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday, retroactive to April 27. ”It was just about we were skipping a start for sure, and that would have gone until the last day of his DL if we hadn’t put him on the DL, so it makes sense to put him on the DL, get him back, throw a significant side and get a better read of where he’s at,” Melvin said. ”I know he felt a lot better yesterday, and we hope that’s the case leading up, but based on one or two days, it felt like it was the right thing to do.” . OF Rajai Davis (left hamstring strain) ran Sunday and has a chance to be taken off the DL Tuesday, Melvin said.
Astros: Houston OF Jake Marisnick, who is on the 7-day concussion list, continued a rehabilitation assignment Sunday in Double-A Corpus Christi. Marisnick will be activated Monday, with OF Tony Kemp being sent down to Triple-A Fresno.. . RHP Jandel Gustavo (right forearm tightness) will throw a bullpen Monday before possibly starting a rehabilitation assignment, Hinch said.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray will come off the disabled list and make his season debut Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Minnesota. Gray was 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA last season.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (2-1) takes the mound Monday to start a four-game series against the Rangers. He looks to bounce back after allowing five runs in five innings in his last start, but the right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.03 ERA in his career against Texas.