Mariners-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

Based on the success Seattle enjoyed during its last visit to Houston, the Mariners might have a good chance to end their current losing streak.

They'll look to avoid a seventh consecutive loss by winning their fourth in a row over the lowly Astros on Thursday night.

Seattle (59-73) was outscored 38-12 while going winless on a six-game homestand against the Los Angeles Angels and Texas. The Mariners managed nine hits Wednesday, but were blown out 12-4 by the Rangers.

"(This) team will probably be defined by these last 30 games,'' manager Eric Wedge said. "A lot of good things have happened. A lot of things have happened maybe we didn't like to see, but with 30 games left you can really make a move in a positive direction.''

The Mariners can start by continuing their recent success against Houston (44-88), one of three teams in the AL with a worse record than them. Seattle has won five of the last six meetings and scored 26 runs while sweeping a three-game set at Minute Maid Park from July 19-21.

Rookie Seattle shortstop Brad Miller is batting .343 (12 for 35) in his last eight games, and went 5 for 13 with two homers and seven RBIs at Houston last month.

The Mariners will turn to Erasmo Ramirez (4-1, 5.44 ERA) to help end their skid.

Though the right-hander is 0-1 in his last two starts, he's allowed three earned runs in 13 2-3 innings of those outings. Two of the three runs he allowed over 6 2-3 innings of a 5-1 loss to the Angels on Saturday were earned.

This will be his first appearance against the Astros, who will try to avoid a third straight defeat after losing 6-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

Houston's Chris Carter was 6 for 12 with three homers and six RBIs against the White Sox this week. He went 11 for 26 with four home runs and six RBIs in his first six games this year versus Seattle, but was 3 for 20 with two RBIs and seven strikeouts in his last six.

After coming out of the bullpen for two of his last three appearances, Jordan Lyles (6-6, 5.15) takes the ball trying to win three straight starts for the first time in his career.

The right-hander has yielded 15 hits over 14 1-3 innings of those two starts but five runs. Four of those runs came on three homers over 7 1-3 innings of a 12-4 victory over Toronto on Friday.

"My command wasn't there the first couple of innings, but we got that big lead, and all that pitching and stuff goes out the window," Lyles told the Astros' official website. "It's time to get quick outs."

Lyles scattered three hits and struck out a career-high 10 in seven scoreless innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-1 win at Seattle on June 12, but was tagged for a career-worst 10 runs over four frames of a 12-5 home defeat to the Mariners on July 21.

Seattle failed to score a run with Lyles on the mound in both contest.

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