Cardinals rookie starter Shelby Miller was dominant Saturday against the Giants, tossing seven innings of scoreless ball against the defending World Series champs.
Miller allowed six hits and a walk while striking out seven opposing hitters. He won his sixth game of the year and lowered his season ERA to 1.82.
If there is one complaint about his performance, it is that Miller continues to nibble and try to strike batters out which quickly runs up his pitch count. He used more than 50 pitches to get through the first three innings and, despite pitching a bit more efficiently after that, he was at 106 pitches thrown when he departed after seven innings.
Miller has the stuff to get batters to scuff grounders to infielders or hit lazy pop-ups earlier in the count. And if he did so, he's got the ability to consistently pitch deeper into games and keep the bullpen out of the mix. Miller has only reached seven innings three times in his 11 starts this season. In his previous three starts he made it through 5 2/3 innings and the other he went 5 1/3.
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I don't mean to be overly critical because Miller has had tremendous results and he's making a great case for rookie of the year. But it makes me more than a little bit nervous to see Victor Marte warming in the sixth inning of a game -- even though on this occasion the Cardinals have a seven-run lead at the time. On most days, they're not going to be that fortunate.
The Redbirds used a huge outburst in the third inning to jump to a big league. Seven runs were scored when 12 batters came to the plate to abuse Giants starter Matt Cain.
Some of the guys who don't get a lot of chances to contribute made the most of their playing time.
Back-up catcher Tony Cruz had two hits and a pair of RBIs as did utility infielder Daniel Descalso. Matt Adams was one-for-three with a walk, a pair of runs scored and an RBI.
Keith Butler made his major league debut in place of Mitchell Boggs in the St. Louis bullpen. He hurled one scoreless frame. He walked one, allowed one hit and struck out one.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Miller
Cardinals Play of the Game: Cruz's third inning, two-run double
Lowlight: Matt Holliday was the only St. Louis starting position player not to collect a hit, going 0-for-4.