ST. LOUIS — It was Miller Time for the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
Rookie Shelby Miller faced Milwaukee and it proved an exercise in futility for the Brewers in a 2-0 loss at Busch Stadium.
Miller (2-0) worked seven scoreless innings and allowed one hit, walked none and struck out eight on a 44-degree night as the Cardinals won their third in a row. Norichika Aoki's leadoff single in the first was the Brewers only hit against Miller.
"Overall, it was good," Miller said of his performance. "Earlier in the game, I was throwing a lot of pitches, leaving the ball up and getting a lot of foul balls. But I finally settled in and started getting the ball down more, and that took me deeper into the game."
Miller, who has thrown 13 consecutive shutout innings at Busch Stadium, hit the strike zone with 87 of his 113 pitches.
"Shelby looked great," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I didn't know if he was going to be able to make it through the fifth inning there for a while. He was giving up 10-pitch at-bats, it seemed like, to every other hitter."
But like all good pitchers, Miller made an adjustment.
"He kind of changed his sequences, moved into the bottom of the zone and started getting some quick outs," Matheny said. "I didn't see as many mistakes with his secondary pitches, which kind of plagued him a little bit through his minor-league career and even his first start.
"He stuck with that high, riding fastball, then he was able to bring it down and put a little more movement on it to get some more efficient outs."
Cardinals pitchers have fired 23 straight scoreless innings, and St. Louis has outscored its opponents 17-1 in the last three games.
David Freese and Yadier Molina provided the offense against former Cardinal Kyle Lohse. Freese's RBI single in the second made it 1-0 and Molina added a bases-empty homer in the seventh on what he said was a thigh-high fastball over the middle.
Miller entrusted catcher Molina to make all pitch selections.
"I threw everything Yadi called, so it made it easy on me," Miller said. "It's a lot of fun throwing to him. I haven't shaken him all year. Yadi knows the hitters, I throw the pitch."
Molina credited Miller.
"He was good," Molina said. "He was attacking the hitters."
Miller closed the 2012 regular season by blanking the Cincinnati Reds in six innings. In two starts at Busch Stadium, he has surrendered two hits, walked two and fanned 15.
"It's only two starts," Miller said with a laugh. "I love pitching here in front of the fans. It was an amazing atmosphere and there was a lot of energy in the stadium. It's always fun pitching at home. That's what it's all about --making it to the big leagues and pitching in front of your own fans. That's what makes the game fun."
Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect eighth, but the crowd of 42,528 grew restless in the ninth when Mitchell Boggs walked Aoki with one out and allowed Jean Segura's single.
Boggs, however, ended the game with a flourish, getting swinging strikeouts against Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks.
Boggs has thrown two scoreless innings since his meltdown in Monday's home opener, when he was touched for seven ninth-inning runs in a 13-4 loss to Cincinnati.
"He pitches with some emotion," Matheny said. "He pitches with an edge, a chip on his shoulder. That makes some guys better, and he's one of them. It was nice to see him get it back together after the one walk."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.