Miley goes eight innings in 2-1 win (quotes added)

CINCINNATI - Maybe Wade Miley would enjoy the same success if his target was set by a greyhound or a stack of magazines. It might not be tied to catcher Caleb Joseph.

Anyone want to end the experiment and find out?

Miley lasted eight innings tonight, the longest start for the Orioles this season, and retired 23 of 26 batters. He allowed one run and two hits, walked one and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts.

Trey Mancini pinch-hit for him in the ninth with his pitch count at 101.

Miley retired the first 11 batters before Joey Votto homered to left-center field with two outs in the fourth inning to tie the game. He set down 17 of 19 through the sixth, on 76 pitches, the other baserunner coming on a walk to Eugenio Suárez leading off the fifth that was followed by a double play.

Two more strikeouts followed in the seventh, as Miley again retired the side in order. Again on 10 pitches, also his total in the two previous innings.

Rain began to fall after Adam Duvall took a called third strike to end the seventh, with Miley at 86 pitches and Darren O’Day beginning to warm in the bullpen. Miley struck out the side in the eighth and stranded Zack Cozart after a one-out double.

Miley pounded his fist in his glove after fanning Stuart Turner to end the inning.

Miley has had Joseph behind the plate for all three starts and allowed four runs and eight hits in 19 innings for a 1.89 ERA. He’s struck out 24 batters. He’s walked only one in the last two starts.

Jonathan Schoop continued to swing a scalding bat, his solo home run off Scott Feldman with two outs in the second inning giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

At that point, Schoop was batting .429 (12-for-28) with three doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs and six runs scored in his last eight games. His average climbed from .105 to .298.

Miley struck out Billy Hamilton, Turner and Feldman within the first three innings and had his pitch count at 36. He also recorded four outs via ground balls and worked at his typically fast pace.

The first two batters in the fourth were retired on a ground ball and strikeout, but Votto jumped on a slider and Adam Jones gave it a courtesy chase.

Duvall followed with the sixth groundball out for Miley.

The Orioles ran themselves out of the top of the fourth inning, with Manny Machado thrown out trying to go from first to third on Mark Trumbo’s two-out single to right field. Close play, no challenge.

Machado was batting .167 before lining a single into right. He was robbed of a hit in the seventh on a diving stop up the middle by second baseman José Peraza.

J.J. Hardy also was thrown out at third - not really close - after trying to stretch a double into a triple in the fifth inning. He hasn’t tripled since June 2012.

Miley closed the 2016 season by allowing only four runs in his last three starts spanning 18 2/3 innings. He walked two batter and struck out 23. The Orioles counted on a carryover this season.

Joseph sees that Miley is demonstrating what he’s capable of doing after a rough beginning to his Orioles career.

“Yeah, sure,” Joseph said before the game. “I don’t think it’s anything groundbreaking or earth-shattering. I think it may just be reminding him that he can do it. I think a lot of times when the pitcher feels the confidence the catcher has in him and his pitches or the sequence or whatever, I think he can feed off that. I think they can respond to that.

“That is a part of the job description is to know their personalities and knowing how you can encourage them and motivate them. I think so far that’s been something he has. I think he’s done it before and I think he’s had these certain things in his repertoire. It’s not like we’re asking him to throw a split-finger slider-change. He’s got the pitches. It’s more or less, ‘Have we thought about this, have we thought about that, because I think you can do this, I think you can do that, and against this team maybe that works.’

“He’s got the weapons, so it’s pretty much just putting them into place. That’s fun, a lot of fun. When you’re a catcher, that’s one of the most gratifying things is watching a guy like (Kevin) Gausman or (Dylan) Bundy and watching them progress. And watching an older guy, like Wade, find the enjoyment of getting people out on certain pitches that maybe he didn’t do last year.”

Update: Hardy’s two-out single in the 10th scored Trumbo, who walked, and gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Brad Brach will try for his second save in two nights.

Update II: Brach recorded his second save in two nights and the Orioles defeated the Reds 2-1 to take the series and improve to 10-4. They went 6-3 on the road trip.

Here are quotes from the Orioles clubhouse:

wade-miley-gray-throwing-sidebar.jpgManager Buck Showalter on Miley’s tempo: “Guys when they throw the ball over and work that fast, but you’ve got to have some success. I know a lot of guys who work fast and can’t get anybody out. We knew coming in that Cincinnati was playing real well and we were going to have to get some well-pitched games. They’ve got some really deep arms. You can see why they’re real excited about what the future holds for them. They’ve got some good, young players. I’m really impressed with what they’ve done. I’m glad to get out of here.”

Showalter on Miley having multiple pitches working: “He’s making the ball go both ways and commanding the fastball is where it all starts and ends. There wasn’t one pitch they could take out of the repertoire.”

Showalter on importance of 6-3 road trip: “It means we won more games than we lost and we’re going home to some friendly faces. It’s been one of the longer trips in a lot of ways. It just seems like early in the year to be gone this long. I think everybody’s looking forward to getting home, but it’s a quick turnaround.

“You’re going to get in and get to bed at 4 o’clock in the morning, you’re going to turn around and figure out a way to compete against one of the best teams in baseball. We played a hot team here and we got out of here (winning) two of three because we pitched real well except for the first day.”

Showalter on Hardy’s at-bat: “He just stuck his nose out there. That’s a professional, veteran player who’s just not going to give in. We were talking before the game, regardless of what J.J.’s hitting, he’s always engaged at shortstop. Young players, including ours, could really learn from him. I don’t care if he’s 0-for-4, you don’t mind seeing him up there because he’s going to stick his nose in there and try to stick one out over the infield.”

Miley on whether all his pitches were working: “I had pretty good fastball command, away and in. I was able to move it around. Breaking ball stuff really wasn’t there. I wasn’t able to use the slider as much as normal, but we mixed it in here and there. But the fastball command, I think it worked out where we wanted it to be. I was able to go down and away, move it up and in.

“Caleb did an outstanding job game planning. I didn’t shake him one time. Everything was crisp. He just knew where we wanted to go and I was able to execute.”

Miley on working with Joseph: “Not to knock at Welington (Castillo). I’ve thrown to him. He’s outstanding, as well. Something about Caleb from spring training. I don’t know what it was. I know he works hard back there for me. We’ve got a good thing going right now.”

Miley on being comfortable with Joseph: “As a pitcher, you’ve got a catcher back there working really hard for you, and you see that. You kind of build off of that, build off the energy you see him giving, and you go from there.”

Miley on his 11 strikeouts: “We’ve obviously faced these guys in the past, and we looked over that and pounded them in a lot in the past. We just kind of stayed away from that, stayed away from them, and we felt like they were leaning all over, and we were able to pop them in. Executing the pitches is the main thing. I was able to execute. When we tried to go in, I got the call and it just worked out tonight.”

Miley on back-to-back long outings by rotation: “That’s what we try to do. I think all of our starting pitchers, they try to get as deep into a ballgame as they possibly can. I was able to get some early outs tonight, which helped get me deeper in the ballgame. Sometimes it’s tough when hitters put up good at-bats. We were able to maneuver and get pretty deep, and Ubie did a good job last night.”

Hardy on his approach after falling behind 0-2: Not strike out. I’m just trying to see the ball, put something in play and make something happen. Those guys are tough. They’ve got some really good arms and fortunately that ball fell.”

Hardy on winning despite not scoring a lot of runs: “Our pitching has been great, Ubaldo (Jiménez) and Miley today, Brach coming in getting some saves, Darren, our bullpen, strong like always. Just good pitching. That’s what it’s been like the past couple of days.”

Hardy on how Orioles are 10-4: “Pitching, timely hitting, hit some homers. It’s kind of the way we expect to play. I don’t think we’re too surprised about the way things are turning out. We’ve got a lot of confidence in here.”

Hardy on Miley: “The last two times he’s been out there he’s been amazing. Fun to play behind. There’s times when I feel like I’m not even ready and he’s getting ready to pitch. He works fast, he throws strikes, mixes it up. Those hitters don’t take too many good swings. It’s been great.”

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