Rookie Shelby Miller was able to pitch the St. Louis Cardinals to their second win of the season Saturday despite a shaky performance from the bullpen.
Miller worked 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out four. When he gassed out in the sixth, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny turned to situational lefty Randy Choate with two men on base.
Choate's first pitch was ripped down the first base line about as hard as it could be hit. But Allen Craig dove to his left to catch the ball and scrambled to first base to beat the shocked runner back to the bag for a most fortunate double play.
Edward Mujica allowed a pair of a hits -- including a towering home run to centerfield to Pablo Sandoval that sliced the St. Louis lead to two runs. But the Redbirds hurlers were able to nail down the game without further incident with Mitchell Boggs scoring his first save of the season.
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Shortstop Pete Kozma paced the offense with three hits in four at-bats. But Carlos Beltran did the heavy lifting with three RBIs, all collected with two outs. Matt Carpenter had two hits, two runs scored and a run batted in.
Miller improved to 2-0 in the major leagues. His only previous start came last season against the Reds. In that game he hurled six innings and shut out Cincinnati on one hit. But he left the game in a scoreless tie and the Redbirds didn't take the lead until the eighth, long after the young righty had departed.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Beltran has had his struggles so far this season, trying to play through a broken toe. But he's had his way with Ryan Vogelsong over his career and Saturday was no different.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Beltran's two-out single in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie. Beltran took a controlled, two-strike swing but was able to pull a line drive to left field.
Lowlight: Choate certainly isn't fooling anyone. The struggles that plagued him in spring training haven't disappeared since the games have started to count. It's a major problem when the guy who is paid to pitch you out of jams can't get anybody out.