Astros-Mariners Preview

The Houston Astros have spent nearly all of the season in playoff position, but owning the AL's worst road record is a big reason why they're now a pursuer.

The Astros attempt to bounce back from a costly defeat and regain the league's second wild-card spot Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners.

Houston is 30-47 on the road, losing five of its last six to fall one-half game behind the Los Angeles Angels in the wild-card chase. This is the first time the Astros (83-75) have not held a postseason spot since they were 5-6 on April 18.

Overtaking the Angels will require finding success on the road, as their remaining four games - one fewer than Los Angeles - are outside Houston.

The Astros went from hunted to hunters Tuesday, blowing a two-run lead in losing 6-4 at Seattle.

''We're just not getting it done,'' pitcher Mike Fiers said. ''We had the game right there, with the lead. I just needed one more out to get out of the inning and keep the momentum going."

Giving the ball to Scott Kazmir (7-11, 2.97 ERA) for his regular-season finale isn't ideal. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA over his last six starts, failing to complete five innings in three.

He's struggled greatly in the last two, surrendering nine runs and 15 hits - three homers - in 7 1-3 innings. Kazmir turned in his worst performance since being acquired from Oakland two months ago, giving up six runs in 3 2-3 innings of Friday's 6-2 loss to Texas.

Manager A.J. Hinch, however, isn't concerned.

"Like anything, the season's late," he told MLB's official website. "It's been a long year and a heavy year for him and all our players. Physically and mentally, our guys are getting after it, but I don't have any concern with him medically."

Kazmir's recent struggles include allowing three runs in 4 1-3 innings while not getting a decision in an 8-3 loss to the Mariners on Sept. 2.

He's 4-2 with a 2.02 ERA in eight starts at Seattle.

The Mariners (75-83) snapped their six-game skid Tuesday after rookie Shawn O'Malley connected for a two-run, bases-loaded single in the eighth.

Robinson Cano had a homer and three RBIs, becoming the eighth second baseman to hit 20 or more in at least six seasons, joining Jeff Kent (12), Dan Uggla (7), Craig Biggio (7), Joe Gordon (7), Rogers Hornsby (7), Bret Boone (6) and Ryne Sandberg (6).

Cano also has the AL's longest active hitting streak at 12 games.

Seattle hasn't announced who will get the start with manager Lloyd McClendon deciding between rookies Mayckol Guaipe (0-3, 5.32) or David Rollins (0-2, 7.88). Neither has a major league start in 37 appearances between them.

Guaipe has allowed one unearned run in one inning over two appearances against Houston, while Rollins has yet to face the AL West rival.

Rollins has struggled at home, compiling an 11.57 ERA in 10 games compared to Guaipe's 4.05 in nine.

Whoever is on the mound will try to slow down George Springer, who is batting .343 with six RBIs in eight games. He's 5 for 8 with a homer, two doubles and two RBIs through the first two of this three-game set, giving him a .441 average in his past nine meetings with the Mariners.

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