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|Dallas Keuchel had a different catcher before throwing his first pitch for the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
Everything worked out just fine with Tim Federowicz behind the plate with the former AL Cy Young Award winner throwing some of his best breaking pitches all season.
Keuchel struck out seven and allowed only two runs over seven scoreless innings Margus Hunt Jersey , winning for only the second time in his last nine starts, as the Astros beat the Texas Rangers 5-3.
”Some of the shape it was taking early was really good. (Shin-Soo) Choo leading off the game, anytime you get him to swing and miss at a breaking pitch, it’s acting pretty good, and then (Nomar) Mazara struck out looking with a slider away,” Keuchel said. ”Both of those balls had good action and I knew from the then on if I could establish the fastball in to the lefties, it would be a good day.”
Josh Reddick and Tony Kemp homered for the Astros, who are 11-4 this season against their instate division rival, with seven consecutive road wins in the series. Houston is a majors-best 31-14 on the road this season.
Keuchel (5-8) struck out the first four batters he faced, and six of the first seven.
After catcher Brian McCann went on the disabled list and had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee earlier Tuesday, manager A.J. Hinch said Max Stassi would do the bulk of the catching. But Stassi got hit by a pitch batting in the first, and left the game with a bruised right (throwing) wrist before even taking the field on defense.
”I think we avoided a fracture, very good for us http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/jamize-olawale-jersey ,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”Got him pretty good in the wrist. Got a welt there, couldn’t flex his hand, hand so mobility.”
X-rays were negative and Stassi is considered day to day.
Keuchel had only thrown a few bullpens with Federowicz in spring training, and a live BP session, before the catcher was called back from Triple-A Fresno earlier Tuesday.
”The way he handled the game not expecting to play, that was really impressive,” Keuchel said.
Choo later walked twice and had two singles to extend his career-best on-base streak to 43 games, the longest in the majors since Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman’s 46-gamer two years ago. Choo is three games shy of Julio Franco’s team record of 46 in a row set 25 years ago.
The Astros used three relievers to get through the eighth. Texas already had a run in before Hector Rondon took over against pinch-hitter Joey Gallo, who worked a 12-pitch at-bat into a two-out walk to load the bases before Robinson Chirinos struck out. Rondon then worked the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances.
Houston went ahead to stay in the first when Yuli Gurriel and Reddick had RBI doubles off Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-2), who still managed to get through six innings. He struck out four, walked two and hit two batters.
”To get through six in that situation was huge for us,” manager Jeff Banister said. ”Early on it didn’t look that it was going to be the case, a situation where really didn’t have a whole lot of sink on the fastball. … For us to still have an opportunity there through those innings Ronnie Harrison Color Rush Jersey , it was big-time by him.”
Astros: SS Carlos Correa, out since June 26 with lower back soreness, has been working out daily in Houston. Hinch said it was uncertain if Correa will be ready to play Friday when eligible to come off the DL. He hadn’t gone through any baseball activities yet.
Rangers: RHP Tony Barnette left the game after a 2-1 pitch to Marwin Gonzalez in the eighth. The Rangers said he had a right shoulder strain and would be evaluated further Wednesday. … 1B Ronald Guzman had two hits and scored twice after being activated from the seven-day concussion DL.
The Astros have homered in 23 consecutive road games, a club record and four from matching the MLB record set by Oakland earlier this season. … Before Bibens-Dirkx plunked Stassi in the first inning, Rangers pitchers had gone 22 games without hitting a batter – the longest span for the team since 1998.
DOUBLE DOUBLED UP
Astros leadoff hitter George Springer was in a 3-for-46 slide before a single in the sixth. But he was also doubled off twice on hard lineouts.
Gerrit Cole (9-2) will pitch on regular rest for the Astros after they made a slight tweak in their rotation. Lance McCullers Jr., who was scheduled to start, was instead pushed back to Friday. Rangers lefty Mike Minor (6-4) took a perfect game into the seventh inning of his last start, a win last Wednesday over the San Diego Padres.
As he prepares for his second season, Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can sense the difference and so can his teammates.
It’s the faith in him and the leadership he’s showing.
”I love the position I’m in and the leadership role,” Trubisky said Wednesday.
”I have to know the guys are looking at me. Come out every day and bring the energy and make sure I’m taking care of my business so that everyone else’s job is easier around them, too. That’s what I’m trying to do and I love the responsibility and I’m just very excited for the continuous opportunities to move forward and move this team.”
How far the Bears go largely hinges on the development of their quarterback.
General manager Ryan Pace banked on a big payoff when he traded up a spot with San Francisco last year to draft Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. He then largely designed the offseason game plan around his young quarterback.
The Bears hired the offensive-minded Matt Nagy off Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City to replace the fired John Fox and overhauled their receiving group, with Allen Robinson the most notable addition.
They also added some potential difference makers in the draft, taking Iowa lineman James Daniels and Memphis receiver Anthony Miller in the second round.
More than anything Authentic James Washington Jersey , they believe they surrounded Trubisky with the pieces he needs to reach his potential and invigorate a struggling franchise.
The Bears have four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North and just one playoff appearance since the 2006 team reached the Super Bowl.
Along with the new additions, the Bears are seeing a more comfortable and confident Trubisky.
”He is in more control now,” running back Tarik Cohen said. ”He knows the players. He can really call us out. When you’re a rookie, you’re hesitant to really jump on guys. He’s taken over more of the reins. He’s in the driver’s seat now.”
It’s a different feeling for a quarterback who wasn’t even supposed to play last season. With just 13 college starts at North Carolina, the Bears planned to have him watch from the sideline.
Instead, Mike Glennon struggled and Trubisky started the final 12 games. It was a tough spot for a raw but talented rookie.
And though he showed some promise, he clearly had room to grow. It didn’t help that he was working with a struggling receiving group hit hard by injuries.
It all added up to an offense that ranked 30th overall and finished in the bottom half for the third time in four years.
But whether it’s the new system and pieces around him or just the fact that he’s no longer a rookie, Trubisky is more comfortable. He’s embracing the responsibility that comes with his role, and he can sense the mounting faith in him.
”Nothing gives me more confidence than when my teammates believe in me,” Trubisky said.
He’s still facing a steep learning curve. The same goes for his teammates and the coaches. They’re all adjusting.
”That’s part of being out here, too, with these guys, the nuances of things Dean Lowry Jersey , the year-to-year editing that you do,” new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said.
The system is ”100 percent” Nagy’s, Helfrich said.
As for Trubisky?
”I really like his mindset,” Helfrich said.
He sees a quarterback who’s not afraid to ask questions as he grows into the job.
”I think we all see through his eyes on a lot of things and through his brain and how he thinks through things,” Helfrich said.
”That’s a big part of it, too is just learning how that guy sees things and being able to talk and teach to that. Today he made some mistakes, today he corrected some guys, but he’ll throw that away and build from the good stuff and continue to kind of add a little bit more each day.”
NOTES: WR Kevin White said the conversation with general manager Ryan Pace was ”clean cut and smooth” when he found out the Bears weren’t picking up his fifth-year option. He also said he is feeling ”really good” as he works his way back from a broken shoulder. Drafted seventh overall in 2015 and Pace’s first pick as a general manager, White has been limited to five games because of leg and shoulder injuries.
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