SEATTLE -- An already weary bullpen was put to the task Sunday afternoon when Astros rookie starter Francis Martes lasted only two innings against the Mariners. Houston manager A.J. Hinch pieced together the next seven innings with precision, and the Astros' bullpen shut down the Mariners the rest of the
SEATTLE -- An already weary bullpen was put to the task Sunday afternoon when Astros rookie starter Francis Martes lasted only two innings against the Mariners. Houston manager A.J. Hinch pieced together the next seven innings with precision, and the Astros' bullpen shut down the Mariners the rest of the way to finish off an 8-2 win at Safeco Field.
Michael Feliz, who was awarded the win, struck out the side in the third inning and pitched a 1-2-3 fourth before handing the ball to Chris Devenski, who went 2 2/3 innings. Will Harris got the final out of the seventh and worked a perfect eighth, and -- after the Astros blew the game open with four runs in the ninth -- Luke Gregerson pitched around two hits and a walk to end it.
In all, the Astros' bullpen held the Mariners to three hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out seven.
"All those guys came in and did a nice job stretching themselves to their limitations," Hinch said.
With the Astros having a scheduled off-day on Monday, Hinch was able to perhaps push his relievers a little more than he would have otherwise. Harris, who threw only seven pitches Saturday, was able to throw 16 more on Sunday. Devenski threw 20 pitches Saturday and added 36 on Sunday, needing only 16 to get through his first two innings. Gregerson also pitched for the second consecutive game Sunday.
The Astros were fifth in the American League among relievers with 258 innings pitched entering Sunday, thanks in part to a banged-up starting rotation.
"We needed guys to step up and put up some zeros while we could get back in the game," Hinch said.
Harris, who stranded runners at first and second in the seventh, retired the heart of the Mariners' order in the eighth, getting Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager to ground out. Harris, an All-Star a year ago, has allowed two runs and five hits and struck out 21 batters in his last 15 appearances (15 2/3 innings).
"I think we kind of had an idea with having an off-day tomorrow, we knew it was kind of all-hands-on-deck," Harris said. "If one guy struggles, the leash may be a little shorter than normal. Obviously, with Martes, it happens to everybody. He had a little control problem today and he's a young guy and they're not going to push him through a high pitch count. A.J. obviously made the right call, and from that point on, it was shutout baseball and we got the win."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.