By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Houston Astros blasted into the next round of the Major League Baseball postseason with a 3-0 shutout of the New York Yankees in their Wild Card playoff game on Tuesday.
Solo home runs by Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez backed the superlative pitching of Houston starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who blanked the Yanks on three hits over six innings with seven strikeouts.
Keuchel, 20-8 this season and pitching on three days' rest for the first time, silenced the New York crowd of 50,000 by running his scoreless streak against the pinstripes to 22 innings in 2015.
"I didn't think we would play that well," Keuchel said in a televised post-game interview.
"I thought we'd play a bit better than average but I didn't think we'd come to Yankee Stadium and play that well."
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka took the loss, giving up first-pitch home runs by Rasmus in the second inning and by Gomez in the fourth, in his five innings of work.
The victory lifted the Astros, appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2005, into a best-of-five American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, starting Thursday.
On Wednesday, the National League Wild Card game will be contested in Pittsburgh, with the Pirates taking on the Chicago Cubs in a showdown between NL Central clubs.
The other AL Division Series will see the Toronto Blue Jays, back in the postseason for the first time in 22 years, at home to the Texas Rangers.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Julian Linden)