Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Dallas Keuchel turned in another solid outing as the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5-2, in the opener of a three-game set.
Following his first career shutout, Keuchel (5-2) nearly completed his second clean sheet in as many outings on Monday.
Keuchel allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight over 8 2/3 innings, but he ran into trouble with two outs in the ninth before being removed after a career-high 128 pitches.
"Any one would have wanted to finish this one," said Keuchel. "I'm just trying to compete. I felt better this time than my shutout."
Keuchel went the distance and struck out seven to complete his first career shutout against the Texas Rangers on May 13.
Mike Trout reached on an infield single and Albert Pujols followed with a single to left that deflected off third baseman Matt Dominguez to put runners on the corners.
"(Keuchel) was outstanding tonight," said Astros manager Bo Porter. "He continues to attack the strike zone. I told him one more batter (after Trout) and he understood, then Pujols got that hit."
Josh Zeid entered in relief and Keuchel's streak of 22 scoreless innings came to an end when Howie Kendrick poked a two-run triple into the right-field corner to cut the deficit to 5-2.
C.J. Cron then grounded out to third in the next at-bat to end the game.
"He pitched a strong game for them," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Keuchel. "We worked his pitch count up there late to get him out but he pitched a good game."
Angels starter Garrett Richards (4-1) surrendered five runs on 10 hits and two walks over seven innings of work. Richards struck out a season-low one batter.
"Richards had a tough time early on, then he settled in, but the damage was already done," said Scioscia.
Houston, which won for the third consecutive game and fifth time in its last six contests, scored three runs in the first, one in the second and another in the third to build an early cushion.
Jose Altuve opened the game with a double to left, then George Springer walked. Richards uncorked a wild pitch on ball four during Springer's at-bat which put runners at the corners.
Richards attempted to pick off Altuve at third, but the ball sailed into foul territory and helped the Astros grab an early lead.
Dexter Fowler walked before Jason Castro and Dominguez smacked back-to-back RBI singles to stake the visitors to a 3-0 edge after one.
With two outs and runners on first and second in the second, Fowler slapped a single into right center that plated Altuve, but Fowler was nabbed at second before Springer could score from first as the inning came to a close.
Castro skied a pop-up to left field to open the third and left fielder Grant Green was no where to be found as Erick Aybar wandered out.
The ball fell in for a double and Chris Carter scored Castro two batters later with a single to center to push the advantage to 5-0.