Unbeaten Keuchel aims to pitch Astros to series win over A's

(SportsNetwork.com) - Houston southpaw Dallas Keuchel will try to win an eighth straight decision on Wednesday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics.

Keuchel has not lost since Aug. 21, going unbeaten over his past 13 starts dating back to last season. That includes a 5-0 record and 1.87 earned run average through eight starts this season, with Houston going 7-1 with him on the mound.

He is the first Astros pitcher to open a season 5-0 since Roger Clemens began 2004 with a 9-0 record.

The 27-year-old has allowed four earned runs in each of his past two starts, but won them both as Houston scored a total of 14 runs in the games. Keuchel logged six innings on Friday in an 8-4 win over Toronto.

Houston's ace is 1-2 lifetime versus Oakland with a 3.19 ERA in 10 games (8 starts).

Jesse Hahn aims to avoid a third straight losing decision this afternoon when he faces the Astros for the first time.

Hahn was 1-1 with a 4.86 ERA through four starts on April 29, but has struggled over three outings in May. He is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA this month, lifting his season ERA to 4.42.

The right-hander gave up 10 earned runs over 10 1/3 innings in consecutive defeats to begin May, but settled in a bit better in Friday's no-decision against the Chicago White Sox. Hahn was charged with four runs -- two earned -- on five hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings. However, Oakland lost 7-6 and is 1-6 in Hahn's seven starts this season.

The Astros pounded out three home runs to back six solid innings from Roberto Hernandez to win last night's meeting 6-4. Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus had two-run shots and Hernandez scattered two runs and seven hits to get Houston back in the win column.

The AL West leaders had won five straight prior to a 2-1 loss to the A's in Monday's opener of this three-game set.

The right-handed Hernandez received support from Carter and Evan Gattis, who had an RBI single among his two hits. Rasmus also went 2-for-4 and provided some cushion with his blast in the eighth inning, during which Jason Castro added a solo shot for Houston.

"That team competes. They're in all these one-run games all the time," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of the Athletics. "We knew they were going to hang around, and obviously we could have done without them getting that close, but I was proud of our guys for continuing to tack on when we had the lead."

Carter's homer came off Sonny Gray, who labored through a season-low five innings and was reached for three runs on seven hits and three walks.

"Yeah stuff was OK, fastball wasn't great," Gray said. "Left a few balls up and that was it."

Oakland again failed to win back-to-back games, something it's achieved only once this season. The A's have now dropped 11 of 13.

The Athletics figure to be without outfielder Coco Crisp today after he exited last night's loss after three innings due to neck tightness.

Houston has won five of its past six over the Athletics, including a three- game sweep in Oakland from April 24-26.