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Miller's no-hit bid not enough for Loons
08/08/2008 11:07 PM ET
Justin Miller tipped his cap to a standing ovation in the ninth inning Friday. But the game was far from over.

Miller lost a no-hitter with one out in the ninth inning, then watched reliever Bobby Blevins surrender a go-ahead three-run homer as the Great Lakes Loons fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps, 3-2, at Dow Diamond.

In control for eight innings, Miller tired in the ninth. He struck out Angel Flores with his 100th pitch of the night but lost the no-hit bid when Kyle Peter lined a single past third baseman Brandon Taylor.

"I felt real good today, I was getting on top of the fastball all day," Miller told WLUN Radio. "In warmups, I was throwing my slider, I knew I had to stay closed. I was opening up too quick [in previous games], but I felt a lot better today."

The former sixth-round pick was pulled after issuing a one-out walk to Chris White. Relying on a sharp sinker and a sinking fastball, he struck out six, walked four and fell two outs short of finishing off the Midwest League's second no-hitter in as many days -- Danny Duffy and Juan Abreu combined on one in Burlington's 10-0 victory over Peoria on Thursday.

Miller said he didn't receive the traditional silent treatment from his teammates during the game.

"They didn't mention anything to me, everyone was still giving me high-fives," he said. "We talked just like normal, we kept everything ordinary. I didn't do anything odd."

Miller could only watch from the dugout as his one-hit shutout turned into a one-run Loons' loss. Blevins (2-6) struck out Audy Ciriaco and was a strike away from closing it out before Chris Carlson launched a three-run homer to right.

"You can't fault Bobby on that," Miller said. "[Carlson] got lucky and caught it just right."

The Kansas native appeared in seven games for the Gulf Coast Dodgers last season and earned a promotion to Class A this spring. He lowered his ERA to 3.90 but remained 4-8.

Miller said he expressed his feelings to Blevins after the loss.

"I told him, 'Keep your head up man, you did your job right there,'" he said. "You can't ask anything more of him."

Second baseman Parker Dalton made a spectacular catch to keep the no-hitter intact when he dived and snagged Cory Middleton's drive to shallow center to end the eighth.

"I didn't think it was hit that far, I thought it would be an easy play," Miller said. "I was ecstatic after that, it was great."

Miller admitted the Loons crowd had him even more excited on the mound in his bid for the first no-hitter in franchise history.

"Oh, yeah, they were great today," he said. "That's the loudest I've heard anybody cheer. When Parker made that catch, it gave me goose bumps."

The buzz in the ballpark was silenced an inning later when Peter's liner glanced off Taylor's glove.

Extra rest appeared to benefit Miller, who had not pitched since Aug. 1.

"It probably let me go so long," the 20-year-old said of pitching on a week's rest. "I wasn't nearly as tired as I thought I'd be."

Brandon Taylor's two-out, two-run double in the third provided the offense for the Loons (16-31).

Noah Krol (3-3) struck out one and allowed two hits over the final two innings to pick up the win for West Michigan (22-24).

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.