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Porter sees improvement in bullpen

Porter sees improvement in bullpen

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Porter sees improvement in bullpen

ARLINGTON -- This season, a call to the bullpen has often been a sign that bad things are about to happen to the Astros, who have the highest relievers' ERA in the Major Leagues at 4.99. The relief problems have been even more pronounced recently, as Houston has a 7.89 bullpen ERA during the past two weeks.

"We ran into a couple bumps in the road," manager Bo Porter acknowledged.

All those issues made Saturday night's victory over the Rangers more satisfying because five relievers combined to help hold the Texas offense at bay.

Paul Clemens, Wesley Wright, Josh Fields, Travis Blackley and Jose Veras combined to throw four innings, allowing four hits and three earned runs while walking two.

As an eight-year veteran surrounded by young pitchers, closer Veras has been the most reliable Astros reliever. He carried a streak of 7 1/3 scoreless innings into Sunday and hasn't blown a save in his past 18 appearances dating to May 24.

Unfortunately for Houston, consistency has not been a hallmark of the bullpen. Sixteen relievers have pitched for the Astros this year.

"There were a lot of moving parts, but I like the guys that we have down there and we're going to continue to give them opportunities," Porter said.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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