Miller records first win since May 15

Cards top prospect allows four hits over six shutout innings

By David Heck / Special to | July 20, 2012 8:24 PM ET

After analyzing his delivery on video, Shelby Miller made a change to his mechanics. So far, so good.

The Cardinals' top prospect allowed four hits over six scoreless innings Friday, registering his first win since May 15, as the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds clipped the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 8-1.

Miller (5-8) struck out three and did not issue a walk for the third time this season. He has not given up a run in his last two starts, spanning 11 innings.

"I feel like my fasball command has been better," Miller said. "We've been really working -- my pitching coach Blaise Ilsley and I -- on my mechanics. I finally got them down to where I'm a little more comfortable. I want to say a lot more comfortable, but I don't want to exaggerate.

"Everything's been working better for me: My fastball command is better, my curveball command is better, my changeup is better. Now that I'm using all my pitches, I hope it stays this way and I can continue to get wins."

Against the RedHawks, Miller did not allow a hit until Brandon Barnes led off the fourth with a single. The 21-year-old right-hander scattered three more singles over his final two frames but never allowed a runner past second base.

Drafted 19th overall in 2009, Miller had little trouble climbing the Minor League ladder until this year. After posting a 2.77 ERA across two levels in 2011, he compiled a 6.17 ERA through his first 17 Pacific Coast League starts.

Miller and the Memphis coaching staff knew he couldn't continue with what he'd been doing. With his last two starts,'s No. 2 overall prospect has lowered his ERA to 5.40.

"It kind of got to a point where I needed to change something," Miller said. "Our pitching coach came in and brought video. We all kind of looked over it. We got a feel for what I needed to do, and I threw a bullpen and everything felt better.

"Really, I was throwing across my body. It was taking away from my velocity, my fastball command and really everything in general. I straightened out my foot more towards home plate and it makes me throw not so much across my body. Just keep a good tempo and get in a good rhythm and keep going."

Miller has had issues with the longball this season, surrendering 17 over 88 1/3 innings pitched -- already 10 more than he's allowed in any other season. He has not given up any homers in his last three outings, however.

The Texas native knows that if he's going to carry over the success of his last two starts, he'll have to remain stingy with both homers and walks.

"I know what I've got to do. I know that this league is definitely not easy to pitch in," Miller said. "There are going to be times when things don't go your way, but the only thing I can do is keep the walks and the home runs down, and I think everything is potentially going to fall into place."

Cards No. 6 prospect Zack Cox ripped a two-run homer and Ryan Jackson, Steven Hill and pinch-hitter Mark Hamilton also went deep in support of Miller.

David Heck is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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