Kazmir shoots for third win over lowly Astros

By The Sports NetworkApril 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM
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(SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Kazmir goes after his third win of the season on Saturday when the Oakland Athletics continue a three-game series versus the Houston Astros at O.co Coliseum.

After making just one start the previous two seasons, Kazmir resurrected his career with the Cleveland Indians in 2013 and went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA over 29 starts. He also struck out 162 batters over 158 innings, earning himself a 2-year, $32 million deal with the A's.

Kazmir has picked up right where he left off a year ago and is 2-0 through his first two starts, while pitching to a 1.40 ERA. However, he had to leave his last start on Sunday with a sore triceps, but still tossed six scoreless innings without getting a decision.

The lefty also struck out a season-high nine batters and has fanned 19 batters in 19 1/3 innings.

Kazmir deemed himself ready to go, though, after a bullpen session earlier this week.

"It was great," Kazmir said of his bullpen session. "I threw off flat ground, but that's something I normally do. I threw all my pitches.

"Bottom line, I think it's the best I've felt all year."

Kazmir has faced the Astros three times and is 1-1 against them with a 5.06 ERA.

Houston, meanwhile, will counter with a lefty of its own in Brett Oberholtzer, who is 0-3 with a 3.50 ERA. Oberholtzer suffered a hard-luck loss on Sunday in Texas, as he surrendered just a run and five hits in seven innings of his team's 1-0 loss.

Oberholtzer lost his only other start to the A's last season.

Oakland continued its mastery of the Astros in Friday's opener, as Yoenis Cespedes went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI and Alberto Callaspo added a three-run shot to help the A's to an 11-3 rout. Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick both hit two-run homers for Oakland, winners in five of its last six games.

"Got off to a good start today, got a crooked number in the first inning," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Sonny Gray (3-0) allowed three runs on nine hits and struck out four over six innings to pick up the win.

The A's are now 21-5 all-time against the Astros, which is the best record by a team against another among those who have played at least 20 times.

George Springer, Dexter Fowler and Chris Carter had one RBI apiece for the Astros, losers in five straight.

Oakland was 15-4 against the Astros last season, including wins in seven of the 10 matchups in the Coliseum.


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