Astros send Keuchel to mound in Baltimore

( - Dallas Keuchel aims to continue his magnificent start to the season on Monday when the Houston Astros begin a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

Keuchel improved to 6-0 on Wednesday with another brilliant performance against the Oakland Athletics as he allowed just an unearned run over seven innings to lower his ERA to an AL-best 1.67.

The 27-year-old pitcher is the first Houston pitcher to start a season with six wins since Roger Clemens was 9-0 in 2004. Keuchel also extended his career-long winning streak to eight games, dating to last season.

"I think he was as sharp as he was early in the year," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They made him work a couple of innings that were pretty long, which got him out of there after the seventh. He really dialed it up in a couple of innings when they had the bases loaded. ... The perfectionist he is, he's probably going to be a little harder on himself than I am, but I love the way he found ways not to break."

Keuchel hasn't lost since falling to the New York Yankees back on Aug. 21, 2014.

Houston salvaged a split in its four-game set with the Detroit Tigers over the weekend, as it took the final two games, including a 10-8 win on Sunday. Preston Tucker hit a key three-run homer, while Evan Gattis added a solo shot in going 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored for the Astros, who have won four of their last six.

"He dominated Triple A so he didn't get here by accident," Gattis said of Tucker. "Just glad to see him getting an opportunity up here, and glad to see him making the most of it."

Baltimore, meanwhile, suffered a series loss to Miami over the weekend, dropping the final two games, including a 5-2 setback in Sunday's rubber match.

Miguel Gonzalez (5-3) was roughed up for five runs on 10 hits and three walks over four-plus innings for Baltimore, which had won four of five before dropping two in a row.

"We've been challenged offensively," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We know we're capable of better."

Getting the call for the Orioles on Monday will be lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who is just 1-3, but has pitched to a 2.90 ERA. Chen, though, gave up a season-high four runs in a loss to Seattle on Wednesday.

Chen is a perfect 3-0 in three starts versus the Astros with a 2.75 ERA.

Baltimore took four of seven from the Astros last season.