Keuchel continues cruising through spring

Keuchel continues cruising through spring

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- When asked before Thursday's game what he'd like to see out of left-hander Dallas Keuchel, Astros manager Bo Porter gave a simple answer: Keep doing what he's doing.

This spring for Keuchel, that's meant putting up scoreless innings, and that's what he continued to do in a 7-5 win over the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Keuchel allowed six hits with no walks and two strikeouts over four scoreless innings. That gives the lefty a nine-inning scoreless streak over three outings to start the Grapefruit League season.

"Keuchel was outstanding. To go through that lineup and pitch the way he pitched, it's really good to see him use all of his pitches, especially against a really good fastball-hitting team," Porter said afterward. "I felt like even at times when he was even or behind in the count, he was able to throw his offspeed stuff -- his changeup, his curveball -- to get back into the count, then he was still able to use his fastball because he was throwing his breaking stuff in any count, and he pitched to both sides of the plate."

Keuchel got some help from his defense in the first inning, when a 5-4-3 double play negated Jose Reyes' leadoff single and a relay throw from L.J. Hoes to Carlos Correa to catcher Carlos Corporan cut down Jose Bautista as he slid home.

"You never know what the first inning's going to be like if that out is not made. I got lucky, and the defense is always going to be a big key for me, because I'm a ground-ball pitcher and I work off those guys."

Keuchel bounced back with three straight groundouts in the second inning and worked his way out of a two-out jam with runners on first and second in the third inning by striking out Bautista on a changeup.

"You've always got to be a little happy with throwing up some zeros," Keuchel said. "I think I had a little bit more movement on my two-seam and changeup today, so that was kind of nice, and just rolled from there."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.