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HOU@LAA: Humber holds Angels to two runs over seven

At one time, Scott Kazmir was one of baseball's most heralded pitching prospects. At another juncture, he was one of the game's premier hurlers, a two-time All-Star with a penchant for punchouts.

Philip Humber was once regarded in a similar light. The right-hander was the third overall selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He was a key cog in a trade that placed Johan Santana in a Mets uniform. And on April 21, 2012 -- one day shy of exactly one year ago -- Humber tossed a perfect game on a sunny Saturday at Safeco Field in Seattle.

Humber quickly tumbled out of the spotlight, posting a 7.39 ERA in his 24 outings after his gem. He was banished to the White Sox bullpen and ultimately claimed off waivers by the Astros on Nov. 30.

Kazmir suffered a steep fall as well. He compiled a 9-15 mark and 5.94 ERA with the Angels in 2010, made only one appearance in 2011 and pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent league in 2012.

Both pitchers will take the hill on Saturday, seeking a renaissance of sorts. Humber has already initiated his attempt at a career resurrection, having fashioned a 2.89 ERA in three starts, despite an 0-3 record to show for it.

The Astros have yet to score a run while Humber has toed the rubber this season. It has become an all-too familiar trend for an Astros team that snapped a five-game skid with a 3-2 win against Cleveland on Friday.

"You focus on the positive," Astros skipper Bo Porter said. "I know a lot of those games [on the recent road trip] they go into the loss column, but I've said this before: This team actually is learning how to win instead of losing baseball games. We take the situation that happens, we take advantage of those teachable moments and I have complete confidence as we get deeper into the season, we'll find ourselves in a lot of these situations and we're going to be victorious."

As for Kazmir, he'll face his hometown Astros with plenty of family and friends on hand, a welcomed occasion after he spent the first three weeks of the season on the disabled list.

"I'm excited," Kazmir said. "It's finally coming up. I had a little hiccup along the way, starting the year."

Indians: Kipnis returns to the lineup
• Second baseman Jason Kipnis cracked manager Terry Francona's batting order on Friday for the first time in a week. He had been shelved with soreness in his left elbow.

"I've gotten to the point where I'm not trying to compensate for the elbow," said Kipnis, who tallied two hits, his first stolen base and a walk on Friday. "Not worried too much about whether it's going to give out on a certain swing. There's still a little soreness, but to the point where now, I feel I can handle it and play through it."

• The Indians, riding a five-game losing streak, are struggling to deliver hits in key situations.

"If we don't get it going, you're going to live and die with two-out hits and sometimes you're going to die," manager Terry Francona said.

Astros: Martinez helped off field
• Left fielder J.D. Martinez departed Friday's contest in the fourth inning after spraining his right knee during an at-bat.

Martinez's knee buckled while he swung, dropping him to the ground. He is considered day to day. Martinez is batting .245 with two homers and seven RBIs this season.

• Former Indians Hector Ambriz and Jose Veras now make up the back end of the Astros' bullpen. Both tossed a scoreless inning to close out Friday's 3-2 victory against the Tribe.

Worth noting
• Humber is 0-2 in seven outings (five starts) against the Indians.

• Indians right-hander Brett Myers surrendered two more home runs on Friday, bringing his season total to 10 in 21 1/3 innings.

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