BALTIMORE -- Now that the Astros are in the American League, seeing pitchers run the bases isn't common. But starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel put on his spikes and entered the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Orioles in 10 innings and wound up scoring a run.
Keuchel pinch-ran for Marc Krauss at second base following Krauss' ninth-inning double. Keuchel scored the game-tying run on Jose Altuve's two-run single. He pinch-ran on two occasions last year, but had only scored one career run prior to Saturday, which came in 2012 when the Astros were in the National League and pitchers hit routinely.
"He's faster than Krauss," manager Bo Porter said when asked why Keuchel pinch-ran. "Keuchel is a really good baserunner. Obviously, look at the situation and you just want more speed on the bases. You want more speed on the bases to give yourself the best opportunity."
Keuchel was on second when Jonathan Villar hit a grounder to second base, and the Orioles threw home to try to get Marwin Gonzalez out coming from third. Gonzalez got caught in a rundown to allow the runners to advance, with Keuchel smartly taking third base.
Of course, most Astros fans remember left-handed pitcher Carlos Hernandez, one of the club's top prospects, injuring his shoulder and derailing a promising career in 2001 in Cincinnati, but Porter wasn't worried about injury.
"The guys that we would allow to do it, Keuchel, [Jarred] Cosart, they're ex-position players," he said. "They know how to run the bases. We've watched our guys in Spring Training and we know the guys that can run the bases [and] that can't."