Shelby Miller is hot and cold in first Triple-A Reno start

Jul 19, 2016, 10:32 PM | Updated: 10:33 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks' Shelby Miller pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the ...
Arizona Diamondbacks' Shelby Miller pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, June 20, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Shelby Miller earned a win in his first start for the Reno Aces, but his performance wasn’t necessarily settling considering why he was demoted to the Aces in the first place.

Miller finished the evening after 6.2 innings pitched, and Reno led 7-3 en route to a 9-6 victory. He allowed four hits, three earned runs off a home run and 10 strikeouts to two walks in a night that began ominously.

The right-hander walked Colorado Springs outfielder Kyle Wren but followed by striking out Josmil Pinto to end the first frame. Miller rolled for a while from there, fanning 10 batters through five innings on 75 pitches and was hitless, only putting one more runner on base with a walk after that first at-bat.

But then, like it had in his recent starts in the major leagues, Miller’s evening went south.

This time, it came in the sixth inning.

With one out, he gave up three consecutive hits — a double, single and home run — allowing three runs to cross the plate. As inconsequential as the inning was for the Aces to earn a win, that inning alone also might not help Miller’s cause to start building a campaign for an MLB return.

Miller was sent to the minors to fix that tendency to go from hot to cold in a matter of minutes.

In the three consecutive starts since his best game of the year — a June 20 start after a disabled list stint — Miller’s woes laid dormant through the first three innings before trouble crashed into him like waves, and big ones at that. Arizona manager Chip Hale specifically said Miller’s inability to get out of jams was one thing he needed to work out in Reno.

On Tuesday with a four-run lead, Miller got that chance after allowing the three-run homer. He sat at 96 pitches (61 strikes) following the unsettling sixth inning and returned for the seventh, where he quickly earned two outs before allowing a single that ended his evening.

He finished the game having thrown 108 pitches, 68 for strikes.

C.O. CONTINUES RAKING

Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Owings, on a rehab assignment due to a foot injury, continued his sweltering pace at the plate, going 4-for-5 with 3 RBI, the later two of which scored the final runs for the Aces.

Owings played at shortstop on Tuesday, but he and outfielder David Peralta are both expected to return to Arizona next week in the best-case scenario, according to Hale.

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