SAN ANTONIO -- In his final tuneup before the regular season begins, left-hander Dallas Keuchel was pleased with how he felt after pitching 4 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
Keuchel, slated as the Astros' fifth starter, threw 68 pitches, allowed five runs (four earned) and struck out five. He was hoping to finish the fifth, but understood why he was pulled after reaching a pitch count he was loosely slated for prior to the game.
"After that long [fifth] inning, they didn't want me to pitch too much because I had thrown 85 pitches [in my last start]," he said. "They didn't want to tax me."
Keuchel was encouraged by his ability to work out of an early jam due to errors by third baseman Jonathan Meyer and right fielder George Springer. Keuchel struck out Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre before coaxing a ground ball from Alex Rios.
"Springer wanted to show off his arm and he has a tremendous arm, so I'm all for that," Keuchel said of Springer's throwing error that allowed Elvis Andrus to score. "For me to be able to get Prince out and Beltre out on consecutive strikeouts was pretty big for me, just because Beltre had some success against me in the past. Going forward it's kind of a confidence booster for me."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.