Miller pitches Cardinals past PhilliesSt. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- All St. Louis rookie Shelby Miller needed was a little time off.
Miller, starting for the first time in 12 days, threw six shutout innings and Allen Craig drove in a pair of runs to lead the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
Miller (10-6) broke out of a three-start slump with one of his finest efforts of the season. He had given up 10 earned runs in 12 2-3 innings over his previous three starts. But he bounced back strong against the Phillies surrendering three hits while striking out six and walking one. He is the third St. Louis starter to reach double-digits in wins joining Adam Wainwright (13-5) and Lance Lynn (11-5).
''The biggest thing for me was to clear my head and get back to where I need to be,'' Miller said. ''I just relaxed and threw out there. I got some time away, got time to work on some mechanics and get things straightened away.''
Miller threw 85 pitches, 62 for strikes. He set the side down in order in three innings and allowed two runners to reach in just one frame.
''We're real excited to see Shelby get back to the form that he was earlier in the year,'' St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. ''He made some nice adjustments since his last start.''
Miller went 7-3 with a 1.91 ERA over his first 12 starts this season before slowing down. He struggled mightily in his previous three contests.
But the time off appeared to work wonders. Miller missed just one start, but because of the All-Star Break he went almost two weeks without an appearance.
''I did a pretty good job of getting ahead in the count, that was the difference-maker tonight,'' Miller said. ''I felt like we had a really good control of the game. We were at a really good pace.''
Miller improved to 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA on more than six days rest this season.
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said Miller's attack mentality was the key to his success.
''He challenged us at times,'' Manuel said. ''He's got a good arm and a big fastball.''
Thanks to Miller's bounce-back effort, the Cardinals have won four of five and 10 of 13. Philadelphia lost its third straight game.
Edward Mujica picked up his 29th save in 31 opportunities. Randy Choate, Seth Maness and Trevor Rosenthal followed Miller to the mound.
Yadier Molina and David Freese also drove in runs for the Cardinals, who remain 1.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
Craig and Molina hit back-to-back doubles off Philadelphia starter Jonathan Pettibone in a two-run fourth. Freese followed with a run-scoring single to push the lead to 3-0.
Craig, who added a run-scoring single in the seventh, has a team leading 79 RBI and is hitting .335.
''We just did an awesome job of getting on base and getting into scoring position,'' Craig said. ''I put the ball in play, had a couple of good at bats, and was able to get the job done.''
Craig is hitting a major league-best .490 with runners in scoring position.
''He's done some impressive things, he's definitely for real,'' Matheny said. ''People are starting to notice.''
Pettibone (5-4) allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings. He has given up three runs or fewer in his last six starts.
''A couple of innings I ran into some trouble with some balls up,'' Pettibone said. ''But that's a tough lineup. They were patient early on.''
St. Louis jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first on singles by Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay and a ground out by Craig.
The Phillies only two-runner threat against Miller came in the first. Michael Young walked with one out and Chase Utley followed with a single. Miller then got Domonic Brown to ground into an inning-ending double play.
John Mayberry Jr. doubled in Darin Ruf in the seventh to trim the deficit to 3-1.
Utley had three hits. He is eight for his last 16.
Notes: Jake Westbrook (6-4, 2.88) will face John Lannan (2-3, 3.76) in the second game of the three-game set on Wednesday. ... Manuel has 996 career wins. ... The Phillies have spent just 12 days at or above .500 this season. ... OF Jay, in center, has gone a franchise-record 240 games without an error. His last miscue came Aug. 24, 2011. ... Philadelphia is 10-7 in July and has won four of five series. ... Phillies OF/INF Laynce Nix is in an 0 for 12 slump after striking out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth.