HOUSTON (AP) — Jarred Cosart's next start will be about toning it down in the first two innings.
Plagued by early-inning jitters and command issues, Cosart gave up five runs in the first two innings, and the Houston Astros couldn't recover and lost to the Miami Marlins 7-3 on Saturday night.
"It was a tale of two innings, obviously," Cosart said. "Pretty self-explanatory. It's the same as always when I have a bad game. I just didn't throw strikes."
Jason Castro had two hits, including a two-run home run in the first that put the Astros up 2-1. Jose Altuve added three hits for Houston, which lost its fourth straight and fell a season-high 20 games below .500 (42-62).
Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run double, and Jordany Valdespin added a two-run home run to power Miami.
Stanton's double in the second inning broke a 2-2 tie. Christian Yelich had two hits, including an RBI single as part of the four-run frame. Valdespin hit his first homer of the season in the ninth off Chad Qualls.
Shaky starts are nothing new to Cosart (9-7), who has struggled in July, allowing 21 runs in 21 1-3 innings over four starts.
Cosart's wildness got him in trouble when he walked the bases loaded in the second, setting up run-scoring hits by Yelich and Stanton.
Casey McGehee had given Miami a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first.
Cosart settled in after that forgettable second and, stayed in the game longer than expected — going 5 2-3 innings after throwing over 50 total pitches in the opening two frames.
"That puts you behind the eight-ball," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "I looked up after the second inning, I didn't think he was going to make it to 5 2-3.
"To his credit he was able to regroup and give us some length, which was very much needed."
Porter didn't hesitate to point out the source of Cosart's early troubles.
"I think it starts with fastball command," Porter said.
Cosart allowed five runs and seven hits, struck out four and walked four.
The Astros went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position against Koehler and finished 1 for 12 overall. Houston left runners in scoring position in each inning from the second to the seventh.