Two years ago, Dallas Keuchel shut out the Yankees over six innings in a one-game playoff victory. Seven postseason frames later and the Brinks Bombers still haven't scored on the former Cy Young winner. The bearded lefty scattered four hits and a walk while striking out ten, leading the Astros to a 2-1 A.L.C.S. opening victory before 43,116 raucous fans.
Keuchel: Silences Yanks
(c) Associated Press International
Chris Devenski and Ken Giles almost closed the shutout but Giles allowed a solo homer to Greg Bird with two away in the ninth for the only Yankee tally before fanning Jacoby Ellsbury for the final out.
The Yankees had only one real threat against Keuchel and that came in the fifth. With two aboard, one on an error by Jose Altuve, Aaron Judge ripped a single to left that Marwin Gonzalez, a shortstop in his spare time, fired home to nip Bird at the plate. New York challenged the call but instant replay confirmed that Houston catcher Brian McCann applied the tag in time.
The Yanks also threatened in the eighth on a pair of walks but Giles struck out Didi Gregorius on three pitches to quell the danger.
Masahiro Tanaka pitched well enough to win for New York but the Astros cracked open a scoreless tie in the fourth when Altuve singled and stole second. Carlos Correa cracked a single to left which plated Altuve then, one out later, Yuli Gurriel smacked a single up the middle to send Correa home for a 2-0 lead. Altuve, to chants of "M-V-P", produced half of Houston's six hits on the night.
Game Two flips quickly with a 3:00 p.m. Central Saturday matinee. Justin Verlander, coming off his relief stint in Game 4 of the A.L.D.S., takes the hill for the Astros as he opposes Luis Severino, a 14-game winner during the regular season. Verlander did not pitch against the Yanks the entire 2017 season.
The Astros made one slight adjustment to their postseason roster for this series, adding righthander Collin McHugh and removing infielder Tyler White.
- Bob Hulsey