Wade Miller had trouble locating his pitches earlier in the season. That problem appears to be gone.
On Friday, Miller pitched a two-hitter—the fewest hits he’s ever allowed in a complete game—and struck out a career-high 14 in a 9-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
“It was good to finally pitch a game like that. When you start getting guys out, you start to get on a roll a little bit and start picking up the pace of the game and throwing strikes,” Miller said.
“I was throwing them chest high and they were swinging through it, so I got lucky on those they were swinging at.”
Miller had allowed five runs and eight hits in his previous start. He said the only difference on Friday was his ability to locate his pitches.
“His stuff has been good and if there have been any challenges in his starts, it’s probably been being wild in the strike zone,” Astros manager Jimy Williams said. “But today he was locating very well, changing speeds and he stayed consistent throughout the whole game.”
Williams will now look for a similar effort from Miller as the Astros try to win for the fifth time in six games. On Tuesday, they opened interleague play with an 11-6 rout of the Orioles.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Orioles, who have won seven of nine.
STANDINGS: Orioles - 4th place, 4 1/2 GB, AL East. Astros - 2nd place, 1 GB, NL Central.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Pat Hentgen (1-2, 4.97 ERA). Hentgen will be looking to break a two-start losing streak. On Thursday, he turned in one of his most disappointing outings of the season, giving up six runs and six hits over just 4 1-3 innings in an 8-4 loss to the Texas Rangers. The 34-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three career appearances against the Astros.
ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Miller (3-6, 4.76 ERA). Before Friday’s win over the Cubs, Miller had allowed at least two runs in each of his previous four starts. The 26-year-old right-hander has never faced the Orioles.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Orioles - Melvin Mora, .352 avg. and 36 runs; Jay Gibbons, 9 HRs; Jeff Conine, 41 RBIs; Jerry Hairston Jr., 14 SBs. Astros - Kent, .330 avg. and 42 RBIs; Jeff Bagwell, 11 HRs; Berkman, 38 runs; Adam Everett, 5 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Orioles - 0-1; Astros - 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Orioles - The Orioles are 14-3 when their starting pitcher goes at least seven innings. … LF Mora went 2-for-5 Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. … OF Luis Matos has hit safely in all 10 games since he was called up from Triple-A Ottawa. Astros - C Brad Ausmus is 3-for-17 (.176) in his career against RHP Hentgen. … The Astros lead the NL with 64 defensive double plays. … Since opening day 2001, the Astros are 178-4 when leading after eight innings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Orioles - 14-14 on the road; Astros - 17-12 at home.
INJURIES: Orioles - INF Hairston (leg), 15-day DL; OF Larry Bigbie (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Lopez (oblique), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL. Astros - OF Richard Hidalgo (virus), 15-day DL; LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (forearm), 15-day DL.