BALTIMORE -- With the bases loaded, no outs and a three-run lead on the line, there is no better reliever to put on the mound than the Indians' Andrew Miller.Miller entered Wednesday's game against the Orioles after starter Carlos Carrasco allowed three consecutive singles to load the bases in the
BALTIMORE -- With the bases loaded, no outs and a three-run lead on the line, there is no better reliever to put on the mound than the Indians' Andrew Miller.
Miller entered Wednesday's game against the Orioles after starter Carlos Carrasco allowed three consecutive singles to load the bases in the seventh inning. The dominant lefty recorded three straight outs to escape the inning, as Miller's opponents have now gone 0-for-17 with one walk and 12 strikeouts against him with the bases loaded since 2014.
Miller's escape and spotless two-inning appearance helped lead the Indians to a 5-1 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
"Just limit the damage," Miller said of his mindset entering the seventh. "I told the guys in there, 'Let's get a ground ball,' and you know, you just try to slow the inning down as much as you can, make a pitch."
Miller forced the first batter he faced, Joey Rickard, to serve a sharp ground ball to third baseman Jose Ramirez, who came up firing to home to get the forceout at the plate. Miller then attacked Caleb Joseph with four straight sliders that caused Joseph to be rung up on a check-swing. To escape the inning, the lefty threw three sliders to Ruben Tejada before blowing a 95.4-mph fastball by him.
"I think that was kind of a big moment," Miller said. "To find a way through that went a long way for us to win that game, I think. A lot of that was Jose making a play, Roberto [Perez] staying on the plate -- that kind of stuff I think is big. ... It's such a big situation that just limiting them to zero or one you feel pretty good about it."
In the past few games, Indians manager Terry Francona has been switching the roles of Miller and closer Cody Allen to make sure the two get even workloads after the number of Miller's innings shot up. But when Allen was called out of Baltimore prior to Wednesday night's game to be home for the birth of his child, Francona had only one guy to turn to in the big spot.
"Oh my goodness. I mean, that's the ballgame," Francona said. "That's pretty impressive. We're up, 3-0, we seem like we're kind of hanging on there and most of the time you'd be like, 'Let's just try to limit the damage.' And for them to get nothing ... that's not the only time he's done it.
With Miller's bases-loaded track record, Francona's decision to call on the lefty, who has a 1.43 ERA on the season, was simple.
"As stressful of a moment as it is for the pitcher, it is for the hitter as well," Miller said. "He's expected to come through, so if I can let that play through into my advantage, that's probably something that helps me out. But ultimately, just try to make a pitch, trust your catcher. I think I've been fortunate to have some great defenders. I'd be willing to bet some of those plays were pretty special behind me to get some sort of streak like that."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.