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Miller heat sneaky fast

St. Louis rookie starting pitcher Shelby Miller is averaging a strikeout per inning with a 1.96 ERA. (Associated Press)
St. Louis rookie starting pitcher Shelby Miller is averaging a strikeout per inning with a 1.96 ERA. (Associated Press)

While mustering a lousy single in seven fruitless innings, Milwaukee hitters returned to the dugout muttering to themselves about St. Louis Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller and his unusual fastball.

“It was weird. He has a straight fastball, straight as an arrow,” Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.

Didn’t matter, and the Brewers are not alone. No one had figured out how to beat Miller until Tuesday when Pittsburgh handed the 22-year-old his first loss in a 5-0 victory.

Miller allowed just six hits, two runs and struck out six in six innings against the Pirates. He’s averaging a strikeout per inning with an earned run average of 1.96.

In his first career start in the final game of the 2012 regular season, the hard-throwing right-hander carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and in two starts at home this year he hasn’t given up a run. He beat the World Series champion Giants in his first career road start.

“It’s part deception, part late life,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s got a knack for a fastball that gets on guys quicker than what they would think. He’s got a little bit of something a little different than what most people are used to looking at.”

Miller, who throws in the mid-90s, had a career-high eight strikeouts against Milwaukee, retiring his final 17 batters in order.

“He’s throwing 92 mph and the way we’re swinging, it looks like 100,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.

Miller was the Cardinals’ first-round draft pick in 2009 and the 19th overall selection out of high school in Brownsville, Texas.

Clearing the bases

The San Francisco Giants placed LHP Jeremy Affeldt, a product of Spokane’s Northwest Christian, on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. He has allowed three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings … The Milwaukee Brewers brought back reliever Francisco Rodriguez, signing the RHP to a minor league deal. … The Chicago White Sox recalled OF Jordan Danks from Triple-A Charlotte. … The Cleveland Indians placed CF Michael Bourn on the 15-day disabled list with a cut finger. He’s batting .333 with two homers and two RBIs in 10 games. … Toronto Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista was held out of the starting lineup for a third straight game with a sore back. … 3B Chase Headley returned to the lineup for the San Diego Padres Wednesday, while CF Cameron Maybi n was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right wrist. … Boston Red Sox P Gerson Bautista and P Miguel Pena have been suspended for 50 games each following positive tests under baseball’s minor league drug prevention and treatment program.


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