McCarthy outpitched Keuchel as they both threw complete games without a walk Thursday, and the New York Yankees avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Astros 3-0.
In mid-June, Keuchel was in control the whole way while the Astros roughed up McCarthy. That came while McCarthy was on his way to going 3-10 with Arizona. Since being traded to New York in early July, he's 5-2.
"We put a hurtin' on him in Houston when he was with the Diamondbacks. He just changed role reversal and beat me," Keuchel said.
"I feel like I pitched just as good as McCarthy, but he was better today," he said.
New York won for just the third time in 10 games and ended Houston's three-game winning string. Chase Headley hit an early two-run double and the Yankees backed McCarthy with flawless fielding.
The Yankees' fans also made fine plays — sitting in the first row behind the Houston dugout, comedian Chris Rock wound up with a foul ball off the bat of Astros rookie Jon Singleton, and he gave the souvenir to a young boy as the crowd cheered.
McCarthy struck out eight in his fourth career shutout and first this season. Keuchel gave up seven hits and struck out five.
This was the first nine-inning game where each pitcher threw a complete game without a walk since July 17, 2010, when Mark Buehrle of the White Sox and Carl Pavano of the Twins did it, STATS said.
Houston was trying to become the first team to come into Yankee Stadium at least 20 games under .500 and sweep a series of three games or more since Milwaukee did it to close the 1972 season, STATS said.
Even so, Houston left the Bronx with a 54-74 record, a year after going 51-111.
The Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the second when a double by Martin Prado set up Headley's two-run double. Prado and Headley were the only two Yankees starters to previously hit against Keuchel.
Ichiro Suzuki added a sacrifice fly later in the inning.
"Keuchel was outstanding, just the one inning there and they were able to put some balls in places where we couldn't defend them," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Dexter Fowler hit a broken-bat double in the Houston fourth — the barrel reached the infield dirt, the ball two-hopped off the right-field wall — that put runners at second and third. Marc Krauss followed with a hard grounder off McCarthy's leg and, after taking a moment to locate the ball on the grass, the lanky pitcher zipped a throw to first that ended the threat.
McCarthy escaped another second-and-third jam in the seventh when Singleton struck out — right after hitting a foul pop to the third-base side that Rock recovered — and retiring Carlos Corporan on a flyball.
Astros: Closer Chad Qualls didn't pitch in a save situation Wednesday night because of a back problem. Porter said the right-hander got treatment, but didn't want to comment on Qualls' availability.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (3-8, 5.47 ERA) starts Friday night at Cleveland vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 3.27). Peacock will be making his third start since returning from the minors.
PRICE OF SUCCESS
Before the game, Porter playfully lamented a most costly sight: $8.71, for a Twix candy bar from the minibar at the Manhattan team hotel. He even brought a copy of the bill to show anyone who didn't believe him. "I don't even eat Twix," he said, saying wife Stacey had it.