Houston Astros: Dallas Keuchel set the tone for the A.L. All-Stars

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After Cincinnati Reds third baseman, Todd Frazier won the 2015 Home Run Derby in front of his home crowd, it would be Dallas Keuchel and the American League All-Star team clinching home-field advantage in the World Series with the 6-3 victory at Great American Ballpark.

Keuchel became the first Houston Astros pitcher to start for an All-Star squad since future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens back in 2004 when the Summer Classic as held at Minute Maid Park. Guys on the National League team that year included Sammy Sosa, Jeff Kent, Mike Piazza, Scott Rolen, Ken Griffey, Jr., Barry Bonds, Carlos Beltran, Edgar Renteria, and Albert Pujols just to name a few.

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This time around, Pujols was teammates with both Keuchel and Jose Altuve as the veteran first baseman and reliever Francisco Rodriguez were the only men who participated in 2004’s showdown to make this year’s cut.

Which is odd when you look back that far, considering half of the guys who received All-Star nods this year were young bucks playing either Little League or early High School ball.

Anyway, back to the topic on hand. The American League jumped all over Los Angeles Dodgers starter, Zack Greinke with a lead-off home run off the bat of Mike Trout to right field.

Once Greinke was able to settle in and finally retire the side, it was time for Houston’s possible Cy Young Award winner to take the mound. The 27-year-old right-hander worked a 1-2-3 inning – getting Andrew McCutchen to pop out to Pujols in foul territory while both Frazier and Bryce Harper grounded out to the third baseman, Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson allowed Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt reach on a throwing error that went over the head of Pujols at first. Pujols stalled Goldschmidt by punching the inside of his glove, making it sound as if he made the play until he realized the ball bounced towards right field.

Chicago Cubs first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, started the night as the National League’s designated hitter. Rizzo advanced Goldschmidt to third on a groundout to Albert for the second out of the inning. He would later score on Jhonny Peralta‘s RBI single to right field.

With Keuchel’s night coming to an end, rookie outfielder Joc Pederson stepped into the batter’s box hoping to grab the lead for the first time in the game. Pederson would fail, as he would strike out swinging on the fourth pitch of the at-bat to end the inning and Keuchel’s outing.

Despite Altuve finishing the night 0-for-2 with two stranded, he still made great contact with top-notch pitchers on the mound. There’s a reason why he’s one of the best hitters in the game – it’s just a shame he was unable to reach base safely.

Now that the All-Star game is officially wrapped, the second-place Houston Astros will get back to work on Thursday when the Texas Rangers ride into town to begin the six-game homestand.

Next: Astros Return To National Stage

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