The Juice: Shelby Miller retires 27 straight Rockies in one-hit shutout; Jon Lester one-hits Blue Jays

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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A remarkable Friday night for starting pitchers was highlighted by the dazzling performance of St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller. The 22-year-old was basically untouchable, allowing only an Eric Young Jr. single leading off the game en route to his first career complete game shutout and a 3-0 victory for St. Louis.

That's right, Miller retired 27 batters in a row (with 13 strikeouts) and essentially equaled a perfect game, but had to settle for one of the most dominant one-hit performances we've seen in recent history. So dominant, in fact, that according to Yahoo!'s own Jeff Passan, only 18 pitchers have posted a higher nine-inning game score than Miller's 98 since 1916.

I bet that feels pretty good, no?

''I feel really good,'' Miller said. ''It's definitely the best game I've thrown in my life. How it finished was unbelievable. It was a great experience. Yadi (catcher Yadier Molina) was calling a great game and they were making great plays for me. It was a start I'll remember the rest of my life.''

Matt Harvey of the New York Mets also threw a complete game shutout with one hit, no walks and 12-plus strikeouts earlier this week. He's only 24, so I'd say the next generation of terrific pitchers has a pretty strong foundation.

Not to be outdone: Jon Lester was basically Shelby Miller's equal, retiring the first 17 batters he faced and the final ten in order. His only blemish was Maicer Izturis' double on his way to his own one-hit shutout of the Toronto Blue Jays. Lester, who tossed a no-hitter back on May 19, 2008, struck out five. It was the third shutout of his career and his tenth complete game.

Quality work, but afterwards all Lester could think about was the one pitch to Izturis that ruined his chance at history.

''If that ball's two feet to (the) left, it's right at him,'' Lester said. ''Good pitch, what we wanted to throw especially to an aggressive hitter. He did a good job of hitting it.''

If it's any solace for Lester, he was a still a part of some smaller history. Together with Miller, this is the first time in the modern era that two pitchers allowed only one hit with no walks on the same day. That's not a bad consolation.

Wrong to stick with Wright: One day after Bo Porter illegally removed Wesley Wright before he could throw a single pitch, the Houston Astros manager probably wishes he could have pulled it off just one more time. Instead, Wright was greeted with a leadoff home run off the bat of Jeff Baker in the seventh inning. That gave the Texas Rangers their first lead at 3-2. David Murphy homered in the ninth to give the Rangers a 4-2 triumph.


Nationals 7, Cubs 3: No Bryce Harper. No Jayson Werth. No problem.

Pirates 7, Mets 3: Give it up for Joe West and his umpiring crew. After review, they correctly overturned their original ruling to give Garrett Jones a three-run homer.

Rays 6, Padres 3: Alex Cobb made all kinds of history in less than five innings.

Reds 4, Brewers 3: Cincinnati improves to 14-6 at Great American Ballpark — the most wins for any team at home.

Yankees 11, Royals 6: Mariano Rivera returns to the scene of his ACL injury, but the Yankees offense gives him a night off.

Orioles 9, Twins 6 (10 inn.): The extra-inning O's are rolling again.

Angels 7, White Sox 5: Consecutive wins for the Angels for the first time since sweeping Detroit April 19-21.

Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2: Arizona wins its fifth straight on Miguel Montero's eighth inning home run.

Mariners 6, A's 3: Hisashi Iwakuma is no Felix Hernadnez, but he's closer than you think. He struck out nine A's over seven very impressive innings.

Marlins 5, Dodgers 4: Not even a date with the futile Fish can cure the Dodgers' blues. Eight straight losses.

Giants 8, Braves 2: San Francisco uses a six-run third to beat Tim Hudson for the first time in seven years.

''I just kind of let 'em play, stay out of their way. I think that's what you're supposed to do. We're very fortunate, obviously, to have both of them.''

— Jim Leyland talks about the luxury of managing Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, who both homered in the Tigers 10-4 win over the Indians.

Fieldin Culbreth and his crew explain the Tropicana Field ground rules.

• Joe Girardi became the seventh Yankees manager to win 500 games.

• Miguel Cabrera is the first Tiger since Hank Greenberg in 1937 to reach 40 RBIs in 33 games or less.

• Each of the Philadelphia Phillies last 14 home runs have come with the bases empty.

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