HOUSTON -- Left-hander Dallas Keuchel often sets the tone for the Houston rotation and the team, so when he scuffled last April, so too did the Astros. The opening month of this season was significantly better for both parties.
Keuchel became the first pitcher in the majors to reach five victories this year, carrying a shutout into the eighth inning of the Astros' 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
Keuchel (5-0) was one strike shy of working eight complete innings, but Athletics shortstop Adam Rosales' two-out single facilitated a pitching change. Rosales subsequently scored when Ryon Healy slapped a single to center field off Astros right-hander Luke Gregerson, who limited the damage to one run.
Keuchel allowed three hits and two walks while striking out nine in 7 2/3 innings. It marked the fifth time in six starts that Keuchel surrendered one earned run or none.
He matched right-hander Roger Clemens for the franchise record for victories in April. Clemens also won five games for Houston in 2004.
"I don't know about best stuff, but that's probably the best command I have had in a while," said Keuchel, who tossed 99 pitches. "I'm going to continue to attack the zone and get some early contact and let the defense work.
"I have such a great defense that it's kind of fun to release the ball and let the guys go get it."
As the Astros (16-9) stumbled to a 7-17 record heading into May 2016, Keuchel went 2-3 with a 4.41 ERA. On Sunday, he lowered his ERA to 1.21 with his 11th consecutive quality start against the Athletics (11-14).
"It is satisfying for sure, but it's only April," Keuchel said. "We have a long ways to go. We are playing some quality ball, but we get sloppy every once in a while. We couldn't have asked for a better start to the season. We will take that."
Correa plated Springer with an RBI double off Athletics right-hander Jesse Hahn (1-2) in the first inning. McCann delivered a two-run single off Hahn in the fifth, scoring Springer and right fielder Josh Reddick, who reached base on a catcher's interference for the third time this series.
Marwin Gonzalez broke the game open with a three-run homer, his fifth home run of the season, with two outs in the eighth.
"We haven't all put it together, which is a good sign," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "There are areas for us to get better ... but with one month down and obviously a long way to go, we had a very successful month."
Keuchel worked around a Trevor Plouffe one-out double in the first, rallying to retire 10 consecutive batters. He retired the Athletics in order in the second, third and sixth. Plouffe was the only baserunner to reach scoring position with Keuchel on the mound.
"He's got a good sinker, good cutter, good slider, good changeup -- he's got four pitches, and you just try to grind on him a little bit and stay close to him," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
"Hopefully, you can get him out of the game. We kept grinding and got their closer (Ken Giles) into the game, but it wasn't enough."
Athletics catcher Josh Phegley said, "You've kind of got to pick your poison -- beat it in the ground or take it low in the zone for a strike. He just doesn't make a lot of mistakes, and he definitely takes advantage of your aggression. We go up there wanting to swing the bat and he knows it."
Houston won two of three in the weekend series.
NOTES: Athletics LHP Sean Manaea (shoulder tightness) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Manaea was set to have his turn in the rotation skipped after leaving his previous start on April 26, so he went on the DL retroactive to April 27. ... Astros CF Jake Marisnick made a second rehab start with Double-A Corpus Christi and will be recalled on Monday. Astros OF Tony Kemp was optioned to Triple-A Fresno. ... Astros RHP Jandel Gustave will throw a second bullpen on Monday before a decision is made on the location of his rehab assignment. Gustave was placed on the 10-day DL on April 19 with right forearm tightness. ... Athletics CF Rajai Davis ran without issue and is scheduled to be activated from the 10-day DL on Tuesday in Minnesota. He has been out since April 22 with a strained left hamstring.