Kazmir named AL Pitcher of the Month

Kazmir named AL Pitcher of the Month

ARLINGTON -- Left-hander Scott Kazmir has been named the American League Pitcher of the Month after going 2-0 with a 0.26 ERA in five July starts.

It is the second career monthly honor for Kazmir, who last won it in May 2008, while with the Rays. He split this past July between Oakland and Houston after being traded on July 23.

"It's a huge honor," Kazmir said. "The whole month has gone the way I wanted to, just from the fact of being able to hit my spots and stuff like that. I'm excited."

Over 34 innings, Kazmir struck out 24 batters. He led the league's starters in ERA, was tied for sixth in strikeouts and surrendered the fewest hits. Opposing batters hit just .134 off him, and he did not give up a home run.

In his three starts with the A's, he allowed just one earned run in 19 1/3 innings. Then, in his first start with the Astros, he threw seven scoreless innings against the Royals, becoming the eighth pitcher in franchise history to throw at least seven shutout innings in his debut. He followed that with 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Angels on July 30.

"I felt good every time I went out there," he said. "Every pitch I was throwing, it felt like I was able to hit the spot I wanted to and just keep hitters off balance. I was able to attack the strike zone early and expand later on, and that gave me success."

With that outing against the Angels, Kazmir became the third pitcher in club history to throw at least seven shutout innings in each of his first two games as an Astros starter.

His 0.26 ERA for the month is the third-lowest mark for July in baseball history, trailing only Frank Allen's 0.25 in 1916 and Spudd Chandler's 0.24 in 1941.

Kazmir has not lost in July since July 10, 2010.

The Astros have now won three of the four 2015 AL Pitcher of the Month awards (Dallas Keuchel in April and May).

"We have to share it a little bit with the A's," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He pitched pretty well for them at the beginning of the month. It's a nice award for him, and [it's] good vibes to have one of our own get that kind of award."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.