HOUSTON, Texas -- Dallas Keuchel and Mike Pelfrey were locked in a pitcher duel all game long, but Keuchel and the Houston Astros prevailed to defeat the Detroit Tigers, 1-0.
The only run of the game was scored in the bottom of the first inning. Colby Rasmus hit a single on a line drive to left field to score George Springer. The hit came with one out and two runners on-base. Pelfrey walked another batter to load the bases, but he sent down Evan Gattis and Carlos Comez to limit the damage to just one run.
Pelfrey, who is now 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA in his first season with the Tigers, gave up one run on five hits and six walks with three strikeouts. Pelfrey got into multiple jams, but did well to get out each and every time.
"He obviously had trouble with his command early," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He had trouble throwing strikes. He walked six guys, but somehow with the sinker, he was getting ground balls, getting double plays, getting out of jams."
The final 2.0 innings on the mound for the Tigers (6-3) was tossed by Buck Farmer. The 25-year-old pitched two perfect innings of baseball with three strikeouts. Farmer allowed the Tigers to save the key bullpen pitchers from tossing after a tough week of work.
"Not really how you draw it, but we will take it," Ausmus said.
Keuchel, however, was dominant. The 2015 American League Cy Young winner pitched 8.0 innings of shutout baseball. While striking out four batters, Keuchel gave up just five hits and one walk.
"He finagled his way through the first inning and then really, really settled in and pounded the zone," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I looked up at one point and he was like 40 out of 50 strikes. He was filling up the strike zone with his stuff, and when he does that and he's controlling contact and we play good defense behind him, that's a good combo."
The 28-year-old left-handed pitcher is now 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA. Earlier in the year, Keuchel defeated the New York Yankees, but lost at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. Keuchel, against the Brewers, gave up six walks across 5.2 innings pitched. He was much better this time around against Detroit.
The Astros (4-7) called in Luke Gregerson for the ninth inning and he pitched a perfect frame to complete the shutout and earn his third save of the season.
After the game, Detroit announced that relief pitcher Alex Wilson (shoulder) will come off the disabled list on Saturday. The Tigers have sent Farmer to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Wilson. Astros right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) was scratched from his second rehabilitation start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Saturday due to soreness.
Justin Verlander (0-1, 8.71 ERA) will toe the slab on Saturday in hopes of turning his season and the series against Houston in a different direction. The Astros will counter with Collin McHugh (1-1, 6.14 ERA), making his third start, on Saturday.