Reddick's bat, Keuchel's arm power Astros

Reddick's bat, Keuchel's arm power Astros

HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel turned in another virtuoso performance, and Josh Reddick provided the firepower.

Keuchel held the Angels to eight hits and one run in seven innings and Reddick homered, tripled, doubled and scored three times, finishing a single shy of the cycle, to lead the Astros to a 5-1 win Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

Keuchel stellar over seven

"It was huge to be able to help this team win and drive in runs and score them at the same time," Reddick said. "That's a great feeling. Any time you get behind Dallas, you know it's going to be a really good game and a close game. He's doing something special. He's happy to do it, and it makes our job a lot easier in the outfield."

Reddick flourishing at No. 2 spot

Keuchel (3-0, 0.96 ERA) has thrown seven innings in each of his first four starts and has allowed one run or fewer each time.

Escobar's RBI single

"When he's at his best, he's controlling contact," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The contact strength's not good, the ball's on the ground. Our defense played really well behind him. But that's when he's at his best; he's commanding the bottom of the strike zone, and they have very little chance to hit the ball in the air when he does that."

Angels starter JC Ramirez threw a career-high 83 pitches, allowing three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, while striking out nine batters. Yuli Gurriel's RBI single in the fifth off Ramirez broke a 1-1 tie, and Evan Gattis greeted reliever Blake Parker with an RBI single in the sixth to make it 3-1. Reddick shot a two-run homer to right in the seventh.

"Better than the last one," Ramirez said of his second career Major League outing. "I think I was pounding the strike zone. Last time I told you guys that I have to mix my pitches. I liked what I did today, but I think I threw too much off-speed. But it helped me when I was behind in the count, and it helped me to put away those guys. I was pounding the zone pretty good."

Gurriel's RBI single

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gattis delivers: The Angels brought in right-handed reliever Parker to face right-handed-hitting Gattis in the sixth inning, and Gattis came through with a sharp single to right field to score Reddick from third base and put the Astros ahead, 3-1. Gattis was 4-for-17 (.235) against right-handed pitchers prior to coming through with his fifth RBI of the season.

Gattis' RBI single

"I've got to work harder to get him some more regular at-bats," Hinch said. "It's been hard with the DH spot going to Beltran most of the time. ... I know when he warms up and starts getting some hits, the power's going to come. He can do a lot of damage, but the two-out base hit to right -- it's hard to keep the ball fair inside the first baseman -- proved to be a pivotal run as well."

Left-field adventure: Reddick's triple in the first inning -- the Astros' first of the year -- went under the glove of sprinting left fielder Jefry Marte, who had a 35-percent catch probability, according to Statcast™. Reddick skied another ball to left field in the sixth that Marte couldn't catch as he jumped near the wall, allowing Reddick to reach with a double. That ball had a hit probability of only 16 percent, according to Statcast™.

Reddick's triple

It was Marte's first start of the season in left field, a position he has very limited professional experience at. He played left in 27 games in 2016, but he has spent the rest of his career as a corner infielder.

"They were just out of his reach," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "First one was a tough play. Then he was dealing with the wall on the second one that Reddick hit. Jefry's out there, he's got to battle. You can't sit here and compare him to Ben [Revere] or Cam [Maybin]. But he holds his own out there, and those two balls were just out of his reach."

Reddick's double off the wall

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jose Altuve has reached base safely in 10 consecutive games and is hitting .432 with a .522 on-base percentage in that span.

WHAT'S NEXT
Angels: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (0-0, 6.14 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season on Thursday when the Angels close out their four-game series with the Astros. In nine career games, including seven starts, against Houston, Shoemaker is 2-3 with a 3.59 ERA. First pitch is slated for 11:10 a.m. PT at Minute Maid Park.

Astros: Lance McCullers Jr. will get the start in Thursday's 1:10 p.m. CT finale at Minute Maid Park. McCullers (1-0, 4.67 ERA) has 23 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings in three starts this year. He dominated the Angels last year, going 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA in two starts with 16 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.