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Astros meet expectations on opening day

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 27: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park on August 27, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Editors Note: Chris is a southeast Texas native that has followed Houston sports for most of his life. His main hobbies are drinking good beer or whiskey, watching and betting sports, and being a family man. You can follow him on twitter @ChrisCampise

By CHRIS CAMPISE

In case you didn’t hear, the Astros started their season last night against the Mariners. They won 3-0 after some solid play from their key guys.

We all said it this offseason: If the Astros want to have any chance, they have to get their ace back in his best form. Last night Keuchel did just that. He threw seven shutout innings giving up just two hits and two walks. One of those hits along with the two walks all came together in the fouth inning putting him in a jam that he got out of. Twice the Mariners tried to sneak a bunt to get a runner on base, but Keuchel was having none of it, making two spectacular fielding plays to throw them out. It’s early, but man did the Keuchel that showed up last night look good.

The offense wasn’t spectacular, but they came through in key moments to get them the win, which isn’t always easy against Felix Hernandez. It all started with George Springer leading off in the bottom of the first. If there’s a better jump start to a game and a season other than a home run to the Crawford Boxes, I don’t know what it is. Springer gave them the 1-0 lead which ended up being all they needed. Carlos Correa absolutely crushed a ball in the fouth sending it over the tracks, then came back in the 6th to hit a sac fly to score the third run of the night.

Jose Altuve and Correa both flashed the leather showing they haven’t lost a step in their game. Alex Bregman was making plays at third while Yulieski Gurriel was solid at first. Nori Aoki was chasing fly balls from left field, while Springer covered center leaving Josh Reddick to cover right. Brian McCann was framing pitches for Keuchel beautifully all night. The bullpen didn’t have to come in until the eighth, and it looked like Luke Gregerson might have some trouble, but ultimately he got through the eighth and Ken Giles was lights out in the ninth. All in all, it was a great team effort that hopefully is just a sign of things to come.

Tonight we’ll see if Lance McCullers can be that dangerous second spot in the rotation we all hope him to be and if the offense can catch fire. But for now, 1-0 looks pretty darn good.

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