Miller, Johnson lead Braves over Phillies
ATLANTA -- Shelby Miller proved to be dominant and efficient as he tossed a three-hit shutout and led the Braves to Tuesday night's 9-0 win over the Phillies at Turner Field.
Miller needed just 99 pitches (75 strikes) to pick up the third shutout of his young career. The 24-year-old right-hander notched two of his eight strikeouts during a perfect ninth inning.
He totaled 31 pitches while facing the minimum over the first four innings and allowed the Phillies to advance past first base just once -- when Ryan Howard began the fifth with a double.
"He had the ball darting around pretty good," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Miller. "We had some awkward swings and not too many good looks at him. He had pretty good stuff."
Freddie Freeman provided Miller an early lead with his two-run home run and Kelly Johnson added to Phillies starter Chad Billingsley's woes when he highlighted a four-run fourth inning with his sixth homer of the season.
But this night belonged to Miller, who has posted a 1.66 ERA through his first six starts.
"Other than a perfect game or a no-hitter, this was pretty good," Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Three hits and one was a bunt. [Miller] threw the ball and commanded every pitch. He was just in complete control of the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Efficient Miller: Miller threw more than 10 pitches in just four innings and totaled 21 pitches from the start of the second inning through the end of the fourth inning. Cesar Hernandez's third-inning bunt single, Howard's double and Grady Sizemore's two-out single in the eighth accounted for Philadelphia's only hits. More >
Billingsley battered in return: Chad Billingsley will hope for better results in his next start. He allowed eight hits and six runs in five innings in his first big league start since April 2013. Billingsley had Tommy John surgery in April 2013 and right flexor tendon surgery in June 2014.
"Obviously he didn't have the start he wanted," Miller said. "But just getting back to the Major Leagues after what he's gone through is special. You tip your cap to guys like that who battle for their career." More >
KJ's latest HR leads him to 1,000: Johnson's three-run shot in the fourth inning was his fourth home run in a span of 27 at-bats. The red-hot utility man added to the evening's splendor by notching his 1,000th career hit with a sixth-inning single. More >
"At the end of the day, you have to go out there with the mentality that it's a nothing-nothing ballgame and just try to put up zeros. This was a fun one." -- Miller, on his performance
"Not the way I envisioned it going, but a couple of mistakes and I paid for it. It's part of being back out there again. But I felt good." -- Billingsley, on his first start since 2013
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The Phillies suffered their fourth shutout of the season, which ties Pittsburgh and Milwaukee for the most in baseball. The Phillies entered the night averaging 2.85 runs per game, making them the only team in baseball averaging fewer than 3.12 runs per game.
ARAUJO MAKES DEBUT
Phillies left-hander Elvis Araujo made his big league debut in the sixth inning. He allowed hits to Johnson and Jace Peterson to put runners on second and third, with help from right fielder Ben Revere, who overthrew the cutoff man. But Araujo got a groundout and a pair of strikeouts to get out of the jam and pitch a scoreless inning.
"Araujo did a nice job getting out of it," Sandberg said. "He pitched well. He threw some good quality pitches with the men on base. He showed a good fastball, a good breaking pitch."
Phillies: Chase Utley is expected to be on the bench for the second consecutive game. He is getting a mental break after hitting .103 through his first 87 at-bats this season. Utley is available to pinch-hit, but the Phillies would like to stay away from him if possible.
Braves: Mike Foltynewicz will oppose Jerome Williams when the Braves and Phillies conclude their three-game series on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. ET. Foltynewicz completed five solid innings and collected his first hit en route to earning the win in his first Major League start on Friday against the Reds.
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