|Description||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 Carlos Dunlap Jerse , 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,” 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 Patriots Danny Shelton Jersey , 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, it was big-time by him.” TRAINER’S ROOM 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. SHORT HOPS 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. UP NEXT 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. — Hue Jackson wasn’t going to turn the Browns offense over to just anyone. Todd Haley met his high standards. After operating for two seasons as both Cleveland’s coach and offensive coordinator, Jackson hired Haley to take over his offense following the assistant’s six successful seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Haley wasn’t on Jackson’s radar after the Browns went 0-16 this season. But after Haley was fired by the Steelers following an opening-round loss to Jacksonville in the AFC playoffs, Jackson didn’t waste a moment and swooped in to nab the 50-year-old, who previously coached in Kansas City and is regarded as one of the league’s elite coordinators. ”He has been a guy that has adjusted his offense to successfully complement and taken advantage of the skillset of his personnel,” Jackson said. ”I’ve witnessed firsthand how prolific his offenses have been in the AFC North over the last six seasons. If I was going to turn over the play calling duties to someone else, it had to be to someone that was experienced and had a long history of success in this league. We were going to be patient about it because there is always a lot of movement in the early part of the offseason. ”When Todd became available, I jumped at the opportunity to meet with him. Once we sat down and talked Patriots Jason McCourty Jersey , it became quickly evident that Todd would be a great fit.” The Browns made Haley’s hiring official on Wednesday. The Associated Press and other media outlets reported the move earlier this week. With Pittsburgh, Haley oversaw the Steelers’ talented offense featuring Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. He won’t have as much to work with in Cleveland, but the Browns are expected to take a quarterback with No. 1 overall draft pick. ”This is a great opportunity,” said Haley, who went 19-26 with the Chiefs and led them to a division title in 2010. ”The Browns have a great history, great fans and deserve to have some fun and experience some winning. I want to help be part of that process. ”There is obviously a lot of work to do in order to get there, but I’ve always been excited about facing a challenge. There is no better feeling than when you can be a part of turning an organization around. ”Hue and I have had some good battles in competing against each other as coordinators and even as a head coach.” The Browns announced the additions of Freddie Kitchens as running backs coach/associate head coach and Amos Jones special teams coordinator. Those moves were also previously reported. Haley’s arrival is a much-needed infusion for the Browns, who have gone 1-31 in two seasons under Jackson. He knows his way around the league and especially the AFC North after 21 years as a pro coach. Granted, the Steelers had some elite players, but Haley got the most out of them. With Roethlisberger running the show, Pittsburgh’s offense ranked in the top 10 in scoring and yards in each of the past four seasons. Brown has developed into perhaps the league’s top playmaker with five straight 100-catch seasons and Bell is a dual threat as runner and receiver. Jackson was reluctant to give up play-calling duties. He was Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator for two seasons before joining the Browns, and was confident he would continue to have success as the play caller. But Cleveland’s offense has sputtered and finished last in the league in scoring this past season. Haley knows Jackson’s thirst to succeed. ”He’s so competitive and winning is the only thing that’s important to him,” he said. ”You want to work with a coach like that. Hue and I share a lot of similar beliefs on how to be successful on offense. We have to score points, protect the ball, protect the quarterback and develop players. It’s not too complicated, but at the same time, it is a great challenge. We are really looking forward to getting to work on it.” —|
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