Cardinals' rookie Miller gets fourth victory

Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- The future of the St. Louis Cardinals' pitching staff was on display Friday night at Miller Park.
Rookie Shelby Miller, making his sixth start of the season and just the seventh of his career, threw six innings of one-run baseball, and right-handers Carlos Martinez and Seth Maness made their major league debuts as the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-1.
Miller continued his impressive start to the season, allowing seven hits -- all singles -- while walking one and striking out five. He improved to 4-2 this season, and in 36 2/3 innings, he has struck out 38, walked 11 and has an ERA of 1.96.
"He did a real nice job making his curveball really effective," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He threw a couple of changeups but he had a good break on his curveball and was throwing it in the zone for strikes and keeping them honest. He had late life on his fastball. He controlled counts, challenged them to put the ball in play and the guys made good plays behind him."
In two starts against Milwaukee, Miller is 2-0 and has allowed just one run in 13 innings while striking out 13.
"My biggest focus in this game was keeping the ball down in the zone," said Miller, who threw 69 of his 106 pitches for strikes. "I faced them the second game of the year so I knew what I needed to do and executed."
Starting pitching hasn't been a problem this season for the Cardinals, whose starting rotation began the day atop the National League with a 2.08 ERA. The bullpen has been another story.
Jason Motte, out since spring training with elbow problems, was officially lost for the season Friday when it was announced that he would undergo Tommy John surgery. Also Friday, the Cardinals optioned Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A Memphis after the right-hander went 0-2 with a 12.66 ERA in 14 appearances.
Martinez was called up from Double-A Springfield to take Boggs' place, and Maness was recalled Monday when Mark Rzepczynski was sent to Memphis.
Matheny didn't hesitate to throw them right into the fire.
Martinez came first and worked around a leadoff base hit by Yuniesky Betancourt before getting pinch-hitter Logan Schafer to ground into a double play and Norichika Aoki to end the inning with a bouncer to short.
Maness got his turn in the eighth and needed just six pitches to retire the Brewers in order.
"We brought them into a tough situation," Matheny said. "It's a great compliment to our organization ... the kids we're bringing in here don't look like they're overwhelmed."
St. Louis went right to work against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, who spent the last five seasons with the Cardinals.
Matt Holliday gave Miller an early lead, belting a two-run homer off Lohse that hit the scoreboard in center field in the third. Allen Craig followed with single but was caught at the plate trying to score on Yadier Molina's double.
The Cardinals added two runs in the fifth when Holliday led off with a single and moved to third on Molina's one-out base hit. Jon Jay drove in two runs with a double to left but was picked off trying to round second base.
Lohse wouldn't return, giving way to pinch-hitter Blake Lalli in the bottom of the inning. In his shortest start of the season, Lohse allowed season highs with four runs and 11 hits. He struck out one and walked one.
"They never gave me a chance to settle in," Lohse said. "It was really a battle for me all night. It wasn't my best night. I felt good starting out, but then it just kind of got away from me. I wasn't getting my off-speed pitches over enough."
Facing right-hander Brandon Kintzler, Carlos Beltran's home run led off the seventh and made it 5-1.
Holliday followed with a walk and, after moving to third on Craig's single, scored on a passed ball by Jonathan Lucroy to give the Cardinals a five-run cushion.
Milwaukee's lone run came in the sixth, on Lucroy's sacrifice fly to center.
NOTES: Carlos Gomez singled in the second inning, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He began the day leading the National League with a .372 batting average and finished the day 1-for-3. ... Right-hander Edward Mujica will be the Cardinals' closer with Motte injured and Boggs in the minors. Mujica has converted all seven of his save opportunities this season. ... Milwaukee reinstated third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the 15-day disabled list before the game. Ramirez went 2-for-3 before leaving the game for a pinch-runner in the sixth inning.

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