Mariners-Astros Preview

While Jarred Cosart continues to shine for the Houston Astros, Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma must find a way to end his current rough stretch.

Cosart will try for a fifth straight victory and help keep Iwakuma and the Mariners from matching a season high with their fifth consecutive road win Tuesday night.

In the midst of the longest winning stretch of his two-year career, Cosart (8-5, 3.60 ERA) has a 2.25 ERA in those four outings. The right-hander has allowed one run over 15 innings in his last two starts, with that coming in seven of a 6-1 victory over Atlanta on Thursday.

”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.”

All three of Cosart’s starts against the Mariners (45-38) have come on the road. He’s 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two this season versus Seattle, which won for the eighth time in 10 games, 10-4 on Monday.

Robinson Cano’s three-run homer was one of four long balls for the Mariners, who also have won 12 of 16 on the road.

Cano is 4 for 9 with two homers and five RBIs in the last two games after he went 3 for 27 in his previous seven contests. He’s 1 for 5 versus Cosart.

Iwakuma (5-4, 3.48), meanwhile, opened June by allowing four runs and 19 hits in 22 1-3 innings to win two of three starts then yielded 10 and 17 hits over nine innings while going 0-1 in the last two. The right-hander gave up five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings of a 5-4 loss to Boston on Wednesday.

”It seems like something weird but it happens to everybody," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He’ll be ready for his next start.”

Though Iwakuma has been bothered by a sore neck, he won’t use that as an excuse for his recent problems.

”I do feel it but it is not affecting my pitching at all,” he said. ”I’m responsible for my last two starts and I need to reflect on what I’ve done wrong and prepare for the next one.”

Iwakuma is 2-4 with a 4.67 ERA in his last seven starts, a stretch that began when he allowed two-run homers to George Springer and Marc Krauss over seven innings of a 4-1 home loss to Houston (36-48) on May 25. He gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 9-8 win May 3, but improved to 2-0 while posting a 2.61 ERA in his last three starts at Houston.

Jose Altuve is batting .375 (6 for 16) against Iwakuma, and dropped to. 344 on the season with an 0-for-3 night Monday. However, he extended his franchise record by stealing a base in his seventh straight game and hasn’t been caught in his last 24 attempts dating to May 12.

He hit .500 (14 for 28) in seven games versus Seattle prior to Monday.

Springer’s 16 homers are an Astros record by a rookie before the All-Star break. He’s 1 for 3 with a home run against Iwakuma.