HOUSTON - The Yankees kept the majors' top home run-hitting team in the ballpark.
And for the most part, they did a decent enough job with the American League's top base-stealing team.
But what the Yankees had no answer for -- and they certainly have company in this regard -- was the Houston Astros' star lefthander, Dallas Keuchel.
The reigning AL Pitcher of the Month in April and May had struggled a bit this month, but he coasted in blanking the Yankees, 4-0, on six hits Thursday night in front of 28,643 at Minute Maid Park.
"Tonight was just a complete domination," said Alex Rodriguez, who struck out in his first three at-bats before managing a single in the ninth to snap a streak of 15 straight retired Yankees. "He made me look as silly as I've looked all year."
Keuchel fanned five in the first two innings on his way to a career-best 12 strikeouts for the AL West-leading Astros (43-32). He matched his career high of 11 through six innings before picking up No. 12 in the ninth.
He struck out A-Rod and Teixeira in the first, with both discussing their punchouts with plate umpire Joe West.
"I actually asked Joe West, 'Did that ball come back?' " A-Rod said. "He thought I was arguing. I said, 'No, no, no, I'm not arguing.' I said, 'That was a great pitch, right?' But he [Keuchel] just moved the ball all over the place. He sunk it, he cut it, changed it up. Struck me out with three different pitches. Tip your cap."
Teixeira did as well, though it seemed as if he did so through clenched teeth. He didn't hide his frustration with what he, and a few others in the clubhouse, thought was an overly generous strike zone.
"You guys saw it," Teixeira said. "I don't have to say anything about the zone."
Entering the game, Keuchel (9-3, 2.17) had limited lefties to a .141/.180/.200 slash line and righties to a slash line of .209/.272/.292. This was more of the same.
After Carlos Beltran reached on an infield single with two outs in the fourth, Keuchel retired the next 15 batters before A-Rod singled, Teixeira drew Keuchel's first walk and Beltran singled to load the bases in the ninth. Jose Pirela, representing the tying run, then grounded into a forceout to end it.
"You're hoping you get a home run," Joe Girardi said. "You have a short leftfield porch, you know that he's tired. He's given up a hit and a walk . . . and you hope you hit one out."
Adam Warren did not pitch poorly in defeat, staking another claim as to why he should stay in the rotation. The righthander, 3-3 with a 2.93 ERA in his previous seven starts, allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits in 52/3 innings. The Yankees committed three errors behind him.
"I think the hardest thing tonight was he was working so fast," he said. "You get down [in the dugout] and try to recover as quick as possible and try to catch your breath, and it seemed like two minutes later, you're back out there pitching again."
Chris Young, who had two hits, led off the game with a single to left, but Keuchel -- very much setting the tone for the night -- struck out Chase Headley, Rodriguez and Teixeira.
As the game wore on, some Yankees took a more aggressive approach. "I think guys were looking for a pitch, and if they got a pitch early, they were trying to hit it," Girardi said. "And that didn't work so well either."