Seattle Mariners (45-38) at Houston Astros (36-48), 8:10 p.m. (ET)

 

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(SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle righty Hisashi Iwakuma tries to shake off a pair of ugly starts on Tuesday when the Mariners continue a three-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Iwakuma gave up five runs in a no-decision in Kansas City two starts ago, then was ripped for five runs and eight hits over four innings in a loss to Boston on Wednesday that dropped him to 5-4 on the year to go along with a 3.48 ERA.

"I need to reflect on what I've done wrong and prepare for my next start," Iwakuma said afterward through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "I was just mislocating in critical situations, and they took advantage. I did feel it, but it's not affecting my pitching at all. I'm able to go through my routines, and I'm responsible for the last two starts."

Iwakuma is 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA in six career starts against Houston, including 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA in two starts this year.

As bad as Iwakuma has been of late, Houston righty Jared Cosart has been just as hot, going 4-0 over his last four starts and has allowed just one run in his last two outings.

Cosart beat the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, limiting them to just a run and six hits in seven innings, as he improved to 8-5, while dropping his ERA to 3.60.

"When I'm throwing strikes I have a lot more confidence and obviously that's what (the coaching staff has) been preaching," said Cosart, who is 7-3 with a 2.70 ERA in his last 12 outings.

"And with the mechanical stuff I've been doing I have a lot more confidence in throwing strikes and just being able to trust my stuff and attack the hitters."

Cosart is 0-3 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts versus the Mariners, but tonight's assignment against them will be his first at home.

Seattle drew first blood in this series on Monday, as Robinson Cano and Mike Zunino each drove in three runs to lead the Mariners to a 10-4 rout. Cano hit a three-run home run, Zunino added a two-run shot and James Jones had four hits and scored twice for the Mariners, who have won eight of their last 10 games.

Taijuan Walker (1-0), called up prior to the game, pitched six innings and gave up three runs on five hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts.

"Just take a deep breath and just go after them," Walker said of his game plan. "Make them put the ball in play and let my defense do their job."

George Springer hit a two-run home run while Marwin Gonzalez added a solo home run and two RBI for the Astros, who have lost six of nine.

Collin McHugh (4-7) allowed five runs on five hits and four walks over six innings to drop his fourth straight start.

"I think I looked up at one point I had thrown 27 balls and 26 strikes," said McHugh. "It's not the way I like to pitch. It was a struggle tonight for sure."

Seattle has won six of its 11 matchups with the Astros this season.

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