HOUSTON -- On Saturday afternoon Jeanmar Gomez was very good and very bad. When the game ended, 1⅔ bad innings overshadowed four perfect ones.
Gomez retired the first 12 batters he faced. He had a 1-0 lead and in this season of the no-hitter, the murmurs were circulating through the crowd of 34,241 at Minute Maid Park. The Astros changed that in a hurry with a four-run fifth inning on the way to a 8-1 thumping of the Indians to end Cleveland's four-game winning streak.
Where does Gomez (4-7, 5.18) go from here? He's 1-5 with a 7.92 ERA (27 earned runs in 30⅔ innings) in his last six starts. He has not worked six innings in any of those starts.
In that stretch, Gomez has allowed 42 hits, eight homers, and 13 walks with only 12 strikeouts. When asked if it was time to send Gomez to the minors, manager Manny Acta said, '"It's only been 12 minutes since the game ended. We're going to sit back and evaluate."
Zach McAllister, who has already been up twice this season, is 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts at Class AAA Columbus.
"It's a problem that can be fixed here. Or it can be fixed somewhere else," said Acta, referring to Gomez's struggles. "It's about being consistent.
"He started the season very well, now he's got more than a handful of starts in a row where he hasn't been very good. You have to be consistent up here. That's all there is to it."
The Indians did show consistency in one part of their game. They were beaten by another left-handed starter. Rookie Dallas Keuchel, in just his second big-league start, stopped the Indians on a six-hitter for his first big-league win. Acta said Keuchel was good. So did Shin-Soo Choo, but the fact remains that the Indians are 5-14 against left-handed starters. Asdrubal Cabrera's ninth homer, and his third in the last four games, gave the Indians their only run.
"Keuchel threw soft, but he had good command," Choo said. "He changed speeds on his fastball, changeup and curveball."
Then Choo said something strange.
"I never think about being 5-14 against lefties, I only think about how I'm doing against lefties," Choo said. "I think we're getting better."
Be that as it may, Brian Bogusevic and Chris Johnson opened the fifth with consecutive doubles against Gomez to make it 1-1. Gomez retired Jason Castro, but stumbled again as Justin Maxwell and Jordan Schafer belted consecutive homers to complete the scoring.
Gomez came out for the sixth and gave up another run on Jed Lowrie's walk and Carlos Lee's long double to the wall in left center. He retired the next two batters and was done for the day.
After retiring 12 straight with a good two-seam fastball and sharp slider, Gomez started leaving pitches up in the strike zone. Bogusevic hit a changeup. Maxwell homered on a cutter that was up.
"He got hurt on soft stuff," Acta said.
Gomez needed only 40 pitches to get through four innings. He needed 21 to finish the fifth. The Astros had never seen Gomez, and the Indians had never seen Keuchel. The Astros get a gold star for being a quicker study than the Indians.
The Indians never made Keuchel sweat. They didn't work the count and gave away at-bat after at-bat.
"We had video on him," Choo said. "We talked about him in our hitters meeting. But video is video. Information is information. You can say a guy throws a curveball, fastball, changeup. But there's a big difference when you step in the box."
After Cabrera's homer to start the fourth, Keuchel retired 15 of the next 16 batters. Choo broke that run with a leadoff double in the ninth, but never made it home.