(BaseballStL) – After losing his last three games by a combined score of 18-7, Shelby Miller threw his first complete game shutout of the season, second of his career, in a 5-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Through nine innings, Miller threw 105 pitches with five strike outs and only one walk. And he only gave up three hits, as well. Manager Mike Matheny was impressed with Miller’s control of the strike-zone.
“That was everything you could ask,” he said, “He was really good in the bottom. He controlled the bottom which made the top look really tough to catch up to. He used everything, but his fastball was the key which I think is pretty much his game.”
Miller ran into some trouble in the sixth inning, allowing two hits. With runners on second and third and two outs, in stepped the always dangerous Jose Bautista. But it didn’t faze the 23-year-old pitcher. He reared back and threw him four straight fastballs, all either 96 or 97 mph, to end the inning with a big strike out.
Again, Matheny said his starter found some extra for that at-bat.
“He turned it up, no question,” Matheny continued, “That’s a huge part of the game right there, obviously with one of the best hitters you’re going to see. [Miller] went at it and it was power on power.”
The Redbird offense provided Miller with five runs, but four of them didn’t happen until the eighth inning, but Miller proved he only needed the solo shot from Randal Grichuk, his first MLB homer.
The last time Miller threw a complete game shutout was against the Colorado Rockies on May 10. Miller allowed just one hit in the first inning, but didn’t allow a batter to reach base for the remainder of the game.
But the difference Saturday was the catcher, instead of Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz started as Miller’s battery mate.
“Tony’s so proactive at staying on top of what guys are doing,” Matheny added about his back-up catcher, “He’s paying attention to sequences. He’s paying attention to what each individual pitcher is doing when he’s going well, when he runs into trouble.”
“It’s like he’s been there already because he’s working on it while he’s on the bench.”