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Preview: Mariners (62-71) at Astros (73-60)

Game: 3
Venue: Minute Maid Park
Date: September 02, 2015 8:10 PM EDT

Scott Kazmir isn’t entirely at fault for winning just twice with the Houston Astros.

He shouldered the blame, however, for his latest performance.

Kazmir attempts to find some consistency and help the Astros bounce back from a rare home loss against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Kazmir is 2-4 in seven starts since being acquired from Oakland on July 23. The left-hander, though, has compiled a 2.64 ERA while being backed by 12 total runs – two or fewer in four of those games.

Run support hasn’t been the only issue for Kazmir, who has lost four of his last five starts behind a 3.94 ERA.

Kazmir (7-9, 2.45 ERA) allowed three runs in seven innings of Friday’s 3-0 loss at Minnesota. His struggles came in the fourth, giving up two runs and hitting two batters – one with the bases loaded.

“Normally in those situations, I kind of amp it up a little bit and give them a different look, maybe throw a little bit harder, and when I tried to do that, it was just side-to-side with everything and pulling everything, so that was unfortunate,” Kazmir told MLB’s official website.

“Hitting two guys, that’s just something you can’t do, especially when you’ve got guys on early on in the inning, so that was frustrating.”

Kazmir certainly felt better against the Mariners on July 2, yielding two hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings of a 4-0 win. He’s 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his last four starts against Seattle.

Houston’s addition of Kazmir could prove even more important with Scott Feldman scheduled to undergo an MRI on his shoulder Wednesday. The right-hander lasted 2 2-3 innings in Tuesday’s 7-5 loss to Seattle (62-71).

The Astros (73-60) have won nine of the last 11 matchups in Houston and own the AL’s best home record at 46-22, winning 22 of 28.

The Mariners are turning to Taijuan Walker (10-7, 4.53) for his regular turn in the rotation after a cramp in his right hip flexor forced him to exit after 84 pitches in Friday’s 2-0 road win over the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander allowed three hits with six strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.

“I haven’t (had an injury like that), that’s why I was a little shocked, a little scared, when I went down,” Walker told MLB’s official website. “It was just tight, just kind of grabbed. It was tight for a couple seconds and then it was good.”

Walker will try to continue his recent dominance on the road, going 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over his last nine starts – yielding one run or none in six.

He was roughed up in an 11-4 defeat at Houston on May 2, giving up eight runs and three homers in three innings. He had a 2.70 ERA while winning his first three starts there.

Walker has also struggled with Jose Altuve, who is 6 for 16 with a homer and two doubles off him.

Altuve enters this matchup on a tear, batting .416 in his last 24 games while getting a hit in 21 of them. He’s got five hits in this series, making him a .370 career hitter against Seattle at Minute Maid Park.