He’ll look to win his third straight decision when the Devil Rays resume a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
Kazmir, a much-heralded prospect in the Mets’ system, was dealt to Tampa Bay last summer in the deal that sent right-hander Victor Zambrano to New York. The 21-year-old left-hander showed flashes of brilliance in eight big-league outings last year, going 2-3 with 41 strikeouts in 33 1-3 innings.
However, Kazmir got off to a rough start this year, dropping his first four decisions and going winless in eight starts despite allowing one run or fewer in three of those outings. He finally got his first win of the year in a 6-2 victory at Detroit on May 19, and has been even sharper his last two times out, surrendering two earned runs and 10 hits over 13 innings.
Still the victim of a poor offense and shaky bullpen, Kazmir was left without a decision in Monday’s 5-4 loss to Oakland despite allowing one run and three hits over seven-plus strong innings. He left the game with a 4-1 lead.
“Our starting pitching has gotten better, and all of a sudden, our bullpen can’t do its job,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “What can I do? I’ve tried them all. … We’ve blown two three-run leads in the eighth inning, and we can’t do that again.”
Kazmir would like to follow the lead of teammate Doug Waechter, who improved to 3-0 lifetime against Seattle with Friday’s series-opening 6-1 victory. Aubrey Huff homered as the Devil Rays ended a five-game losing streak.
Tampa Bay had lost its last six on the road, and is still just 4-21 away from home.
Raul Ibanez drove in the lone run for the Mariners, who had won four of their previous five games.