Miller makes presence felt in Reds' 6-5 win

Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Despite its painful ending, Wednesday afternoon's game likely will remain a career highlight for Cincinnati Reds catcher Corky Miller, a veteran of 15 professional seasons.
Miller doubled home two runs and Jay Bruce added his 24th home run, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati (63-51) swept the brief two-game interleague series from the first-place A's.
"It was nice to see. Corky's a catcher, and catchers tend to have that football mentality," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I wish everybody on the field was that tough. We've been scoring some runs which helps, big time."
With family members in attendance, Miller helped prevent a run from scoring in the fourth inning when he caught a laser from Bruce in right field and blocked the plate to tag out A's second baseman Albert Callaspo. Miller suffered a right quad contusion on that play that caused him to leave the game an inning later.
"I'm still pretty sore," said Miller, who is in his sixth major league season. "I think his knee hit right on top of my knee. I've always been confident in my ability. I'm prepared behind the plate every day. It was nice for my family to get the chance to see me play."
Josh Donaldson hit his 17th home run for Oakland. Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 27th save.
Reds starter Homer Bailey (7-10) picked up the victory despite allowing five earned runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"We wanted to go out there with the fastball and establish that," Miller said. "They hit some pretty good pitches. I think the pitch to Donaldson was a good pitch away."
Despite a brief offensive resurgence on Wednesday, Oakland (64-49) lost for the sixth time in seven games reducing its lead in the American League West to one-half game.
A's starter Bartolo Colon (14-4) had his shortest outing of the season, allowing five earned runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. The five earned runs were one shy of his season high. Colon had allowed three or fewer earned runs in 15 straight starts.
"Bartolo didn't have his best stuff," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "His velocity was down a little bit. He had a stomach virus in the bullpen. He's had it before, but he worked through it."
Cincinnati loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning but managed just one run when Shin-Soo Choo scored from third on a grounder to make it 1-0.
Oakland tied the score in the second when Donaldson homered on a 1-0 pitch from Bailey.
Zack Cozart singled and scored on Miller's double, putting the Reds on top 2-1.
Bruce made the score 4-1 in the third when he launched Colon's first pitch into the visiting bullpen for a two-run homer.
Miller doubled home Cozart again in the third, making the score 5-1.
Colon, through interpreter Ariel Prieto, said the stomach virus was no excuse for his struggles.
"I pitched bad," Colon said. "I wasn't throwing strikes like I did before the All-Star Game. The velocity was down a little, but it is no excuse I don't need to rest. The way the team hit today, I believe we can win."
Stephen Vogt delivered an RBI single for Oakland in the fourth, but Bruce and Miller hooked up to prevent Callaspo from scoring a second run for the A's. Callaspo suffered a right quad contusion on the play and was replaced at second base by Eric Sogard in the fifth.
Oakland's sputtering offense came to life during a three-run sixth.
Sogard tripled to drive in two runs, making the score 6-5. The A's went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position but couldn't push across the tying run, partly because of Miller's heroics.
"He does such a good job behind the plate," Bailey said of Miller. "He's a lot of fun to play with, just the way he approaches the game every day."
NOTES: It was the first multi-double game of Miller's career. ... The Reds reinstated RHP Jonathan Broxton from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Pedro Villarreal to Triple-A Louisville. Broxton had been on the DL since June 15 with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow. "I'm excited to get back out there for the homestretch and help the team win," Broxton said. "It was tough being on the DL. It was a struggle the last seven or eight weeks." ... Reds 3B Todd Frazier, mired in an 0-for-28 skid, batted second for the first time in his career and went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. ... Melvin changed his mind and decided not to start C Derek Norris against Bailey. "Derek has hit eight home runs, but they've all been against left-handers," Melvin said. "We decided to stick with our lineup against right-handers." Vogt started behind the plate. Norris entered the game in the sixth. ... Callaspo snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a double in the second inning. ... Sogard's triple extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.

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