Cards Miller excels in first start in 13 days -

Cards Miller excels in first start in 13 days

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By Scott Bierman By Scott Bierman

(BaseballStL) -- A break might have been just what Shelby Miller needed to find the command he was losing heading into the All-Star recess.

The well-rested Miller allowed only three hits and a walk to the recently surging Philadelphia Phillies offense, which racked up the most hits (330) in the NL in 32 games prior to Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to St. Louis.

It was Miller’s first game pitched since he issued five walks in a no-decision against the Houston Astros on July 10.

“It was way better,” Miller said of Tuesday’s start. “We did a really good job of getting ahead in the count more so than the past games that I’ve been having. I think that was the difference maker tonight. I felt like we had a really good control of the game and I felt like we were at a good pace.”

After allowing two runners on base in the 20-pitch first inning, Miller retired 16 of the next 18 batters faced while throwing 65 pitches over the next five innings.

“Without question, more efficient than most of his starts recently and that would have been nice to run him out there a little longer but it worked out for me,” Matheny said.

His first outing in 13 days lasted only 85 pitches and six innings because of cramping in his calf muscle. It was the second time this season cramps hampered Miller.

“A little bit, but not bad though,” Miller said. “Maybe a little dehydrated there with the break and everything, and just kind of forget the routine a little bit. It’s all good. I felt good.”

Matheny added, “We had to be careful right there, but we were at the right number -- that 85. We didn’t set that going in, but it just looked right, his at-bat was coming up, we had guys ready in the pen. Everything kind of pointed in the direction that we needed to shut him down.”

Randy Choate entered the game to face Domonic Brown, who grounded out to shortstop, to start the seventh inning. It was his 15th scoreless outing in his last 16 appearances.

The Phillies ruined the shutout later in the seventh inning after back-to-back base hits, including an RBI double hit by John Mayberry, off Seth Maness. Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect eighth inning and Edward Mujica worked around two base hits for his 29th save of the season.

The victory also secured the 10th win for Miller, who became the first Cardinals rookie to 10 wins since Jaime Garcia in 2010.

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