Astros' bullpen hitting its stride

Astros' bullpen hitting its stride

HOUSTON -- The Astros' bullpen, which was one of the team's biggest strengths last season, is finally finding its stride. Four relievers combined to hold the Twins hitless for 3 1/3 innings in Tuesday's 6-2 win, with closer Luke Gregerson converting his sixth save in as many chances.

Houston's bullpen has allowed two hits and one run in 13 1/3 innings in the team's last four games. In that span, relievers have struck out 13 batters and walked none.

"I wouldn't call it our best yet, but things are definitely starting to come together," said Gregerson, who has converted 15 consecutive save chances since last August. "Hopefully we continue making strides to get better."

The struggling Ken Giles, who threw a scoreless ninth on Monday, got the final out in the sixth, and Pat Neshek, Will Harris and Gregerson followed with scoreless innings. The only baserunner to reach against them came when Brian Dozier made it to first on a Carlos Correa error to start the eighth with Harris on the mound.

Harris extended his streak of scoreless innings to 11 1/3 and has given up one walk and seven hits during that span. Gregerson has allowed one walk and three hits in 13 1/3 innings while saving those 15 consecutive games.

"Everybody in the bullpen came in and did their part, from Giles getting a big out to Neshek getting to the bottom of the order, to Harris overcoming an error to start off his inning, and Luke is as cool as they come at the end of the game," manager A.J. Hinch said. "All in all, that's as good a win as we could expect."

What Hinch likes most about his bullpen is how each pitcher brings a different look.

"Whoever we want to face, we can match up with that," he said. "We have a lot of different styles in the bullpen, opposed to what we have in the rotation. We've got a high-riding fastball, guys with tremendous breaking balls; [Tony] Sipp is a lefty who can get both sides out. When we're churning right, we're tough to catch up against."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.