Dallas Keuchel outdueled reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber as the Houston Astros scored a 2-0 season opening win over the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park Monday.

Bob Levey, Getty images
Bob Levey, Getty images

Kluber carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before the Astros rallied behind Jose Altuve and George Springer to reward Keuchel for seven scoreless innings of work.

"That was two pretty good pitchers going at it, toe-to-toe pretty much every inning," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "There wasn't a lot of action on the bases. There's a reason these two both started Opening Day. They pitched deep into the game in Game 1 against some pretty good hitters. It was a well-pitched game."

The revamped Astro’s bullpen flexed its muscle in relief of Keuchel. Tony Sipp worked a perfect eighth with two strikeouts and Luke Greggerson worked a perfect ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

Kluber showed why he earned the AL Cy Young Award last year. The right-hander cruised through his first 18 hitters without relinquishing a hit and ended the evening with seven strikeouts against two walks in 7 1/3 innings. He was charged with two runs on three hits when it was all said and done. It was an impressive effort, which came one day after Cleveland locked Kluber up with a five-year, $38.5 million extension.

"I started off well," said Kluber. "I felt like maybe a little bit, as it got later in the game, I lost my fastball command just a little bit and didn't quite locate some two-strike pitches like I would've wanted to. But, in general, overall, I felt pretty good”.

Altuve blooped a single to center with two outs in the sixth for the Astros' first hit, and promptly stole second base. That set the stage for an RBI single by Springer to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

"I wanted to put the ball in play," Altuve said. "As soon as I got on first base, I knew Springer was hitting behind me, and if I got to second base, he can drive me in. That's what happened, and we took the lead, and that's pretty important in the inning."

The Indians best scoring chance came in the seventh inning. Keuchel gave up singles to Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes to start the inning.

Kuechel rebounded to strike out Brandon Moss and  then showed off his fielding skills which won him the Golden Glove Award in 2014.  He scurried to a swinging bunt by Ryan Raburn near the third-base line and threw him out at first, and with runners at second and third, threw out Lonnie Chisenhall on a tapper in front of the mound to polish off seven scoreless innings.

Game two of the three game series is scheduled  for Wednesday at Minuet Maid.The Indians are slated to start Carlos Carrasco who posted a 2.55 ERA in 40 appearances (14 starts) in 2014.

The Astros will counter with Scott Feldman who went 8-12  with a 3.74 ERA with Houston in 2014.

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