Dallas Keuchel had another strong outing for the Houston Astros on Monday night. He just needed more help than George Springer's leadoff homer.
Austin Romine hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning to make a winner of Michael Pineda, and the New York Yankees' bullpen did just fine without star closer Aroldis Chapman in a 2-1 victory over the Astros.
Hours after New York traded Chapman to the Chicago Cubs, All-Star relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller closed out Houston to help the fourth-place Yankees (51-48) move three games above .500 for the first time this season.
Betances struck out the side in the eighth before Miller, back in the ninth-inning role following Chapman's departure, earned his eighth save. The fired-up lefty pumped his fist when he got Carlos Gomez to ground into a game-ending double play with two on.
A frustrated Gomez spiked his helmet and kicked at the ground after he was out at first base.
"That's sort of how they drew up their pitching," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "They have really good arms, and they had really good nights. We had a hard time solving them except for the first pitch of the game."
Pineda (5-9) pitched seven strong innings to beat Keuchel (6-10), the Yankees nemesis who won last year's AL Cy Young Award.
Keuchel gave up two runs and six hits with five strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. He has allowed two runs or fewer in four straight starts.
"He was pretty good," Hinch said. "I thought the finish on his pitches were good. I thought the command of his pitches were good."
The left-hander retired 13 of his first 14 batters. The only hit he gave up was Romine's single in the third until Didi Gregorius' double in the fifth.
"I felt like today was the first time even through this whole stretch that I was able to command both sides of the plate," Keuchel said. "Fastballs to both sides. The only thing lacking were a few sliders to Romine."
Luis Valbuena had three hits for Houston, which had won four straight. Top prospect Alex Bregman went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his major league debut.
"Not as planned because we didn't win, but I had a lot of fun," Bregman said. "It's pretty awesome playing in the big leagues."
Springer's fifth leadoff home run of the year was the 11th for the Astros this season, surpassing the previous club record of 10 set in 2001.
Romine's double to deep center field scored Chase Headley, who singled to start the eighth.
Headley singled in the fifth to drive in Gregorius, tying it at 1.
Pineda allowed five hits and struck out eight in his second straight solid outing after throwing six scoreless innings Wednesday against Baltimore.
The big right-hander retired 14 of 15 during one stretch, but ran into trouble in the sixth. He loaded the bases with two outs before Bregman flied out to the right-field warning track.
"He obviously threw the ball well," Springer said. "You have to tip your cap. He made his pitches, and then they closed it down."
Chapman was sent to the Cubs for pitcher Adam Warren and three minor league prospects.
Astros: INF Marwin Gonzalez sat out after spraining his left ankle in the fifth inning Sunday. "He's doing OK," Hinch said. "We are keeping him out of some baseball activities to monitor his ankle. We'll give him the day off, but I would really like him to play tomorrow if he's capable."
Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez was out of the lineup for a third straight game. Rodriguez, who is 4 for 31 with one home run in July, is batting .206 this season with nine home runs and 29 RBIs, but he's optimistic after speaking to the team's sabermetrics department. "There's no question that for the first two months, my mechanics were out of whack," Rodriguez said. "I think I found something, and I'm excited to put it into play."