SEATTLE -- It wasn't always pretty -- and sometimes appeared destined to turn ugly -- but Ariel Miranda rediscovered his rhythm and his intensity again on Tuesday night.Miranda did not allow a hit in six innings of work in the Mariners' 3-1 loss to the Astros at Safeco Field. He
SEATTLE -- It wasn't always pretty -- and sometimes appeared destined to turn ugly -- but Ariel Miranda rediscovered his rhythm and his intensity again on Tuesday night.
Miranda did not allow a hit in six innings of work in the Mariners' 3-1 loss to the Astros at Safeco Field. He allowed one run and walked six.
It was yet another emboldening sign, following the coattails of strong starts from Erasmo Ramirez and Andrew Albers, for the Mariners' patchwork starting rotation.
"I thought Ariel Miranda pitched his heart out tonight," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He gave us everything he had. He tweaked his ankle earlier in the game, and he hung in there."
As Servais alluded to, it was a gritty performance from Miranda. He rolled his right ankle after awkwardly landing on his follow through in a pitch to Carlos Beltran. He lost his focus after the trainers went out to look at his ailing ankle, and proceeded to walk three of his next four hitters to load the bases.
"He lost his concentration in that inning," Servais said. "You could see it. But after that he got taped up, got back out there and gave us everything he had."
He minimized the damage, allowing only Beltran to score on a deep sacrifice fly from Alex Bregman. Following that scare, Miranda pitched with a focus and intensity that's been missing lately.
The southpaw entered Tuesday's game with a 6.84 ERA in his last 11 starts dating back to July 5. He served up 17 home runs in 225 plate appearances during that stretch, and catapulted himself into the MLB lead for home runs allowed on the season with 38.
Tuesday was different. He maneuvered his way out of jams and smacked his glove in celebration several times throughout the night.
For Servais, it was nice to see that side of Miranda again.
"He had a couple of rough outings on the road trip and he wanted to get back doing what he does," Servais said. "He's a very good competitor. He's been that way all year and he didn't back off at all tonight."
It was a no-brainer for Servais to trot him out for the sixth, even with his pitch count up nearing 100. His stuff and his mental approach were sharp and, most importantly, hitters couldn't touch him.
With a competitor like Miranda, sometimes it comes out in unconventional ways. He snagged a comebacker from Carlos Correa in the sixth with his bare hand, and calmly fired to first base.
Whatever it takes to get outs, especially when nursing a no-hitter.
"It was just a reaction play, my glove was a little further away and the closest thing to it was my hand. So, you gotta go with that," Miranda said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "There's always a glove, but there's always the possibility with the hand. Even with my teeth if I have to."
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.