PEORIA, Ill. - Troy Miller set career highs with seven innings pitched and eight strikeouts, and the Lansing Lugnuts (10-9, 42-46) extended the Peoria Chiefs' (3-16, 33-55) losing streak to ten games with an 8-2 victory on Wednesday night at Dozer Park, opening a three-game series.
Rafael Lantigua collected four hits, Griffin Conine homered and Reggie Pruitt drew three walks and stole his league-leading 34th and 35th bases for the Lugnuts' offense, which set a season high with 12 walks, two shy of the franchise record.
The story from the start, however, was Miller (Win, 3-3), who set down the first nine Chiefs batters to open the game, gave up a pair of singles in the fourth but escaped with a double play and a strikeout, pitched 1-2-3 frames in the fifth and sixth innings, and only gave up a run when center fielder Reggie Pruitt lost Brendan Donovan's two-out fly in the lights for a double in the seventh inning, followed by an RBI single by Brady Whalen. Miller recovered to fan Leandro Cedeño, finishing the outing with his eighth strikeout.
After reliever Justin Watts allowed an unearned run in the eighth on a throwing error by shortstop Lantigua, pulling the Chiefs within 4-2, the Lugnuts put the game away with a four-run rally in the ninth against Rodard Avelino on five walks, a Lantigua RBI single, a hit batsman and two wild pitches.
Cre Finfrock closed out the game with a scoreless last of the ninth, pitching around a single and a walk.
Peoria reliever Tony Locey (Loss, 0-1), the St. Louis Cardinals' third-round selection in June out of the University of Georgia, gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings, serving up an RBI single to former college teammate LJ Talley in the fourth inning for the Lugnuts' first run.
Locey departed in the fifth after walking Gabriel Moreno with one out. Sebastian Tabata entered and immediately served up Conine's 11th home run of the year, a soaring shot to left.
Right-hander Sean Wymer (6.35 ERA) receives the start on Thursday at 7:35 p.m. Eastern / 6:35 p.m. local, opposing Chiefs right-hander Kyle Leahy (2.94).
The Nuts' next homestand runs from July 17-22 against the Burlington Bees and Clinton LumberKings. To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com, call (517) 485-4500 or come to the Cooley Law School Stadium box office at 505 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.