Third outs prove elusive for Kazmir

Third outs prove elusive for Kazmir

HOUSTON -- Finding a way to get the third out proved to be difficult for Scott Kazmir on Friday night. He was one out from finishing the first, second and fourth innings unscathed, but the Rangers broke through each time.

Kazmir was rocked for six runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings and took the loss in the Astros' 6-2 defeat to the Rangers at Minute Maid Park, a loss that dropped them 4 1/2 games behind the front-running Rangers in the American League West.

"I made a couple of pitches out over the plate that hurt me," said Kazmir, who's gone 3 2/3 innings in each of his last two starts, allowing nine earned runs.

In the first, Kazmir retired Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo before walking Adrian Beltre and giving up an RBI double to Prince Fielder. A two-out triple by nine-hole hitter Chris Gimenez and Choo's RBI single in the second made it 2-0, and Kazmir retired Rougned Odor and Gimenez to start the fourth before giving up four consecutive hits.

"It was a combination of things," Kazmir said. "A couple of bloops here, and you wind up giving up a big hit later on."

Manager A.J. Hinch thought Kazmir's stuff looked fine.

"I thought the ball was coming out of his hand fine," Hinch said. "I thought his change, he threw a couple of pretty good ones. Just couldn't control the middle of their order with two outs. It obviously put us in a hole. He was out there working. Just couldn't get out of the innings."

When asked if Kazmir is healthy, Hinch said he's not concerned about that.

"Like anything, the season's late," he said. "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."

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.