It's Miller Time for 51s Lefty

Greg Miller overwhelmed Colorado Springs through six innings, allowing no hits, walking two and strikeouts out for in a 9-5 win. Jacksonville overcame a staggering 15 walks to dump Huntsville 10-4. Inland Empire got strong bullpen help in a 3-2 win over High Desert and Great Lakes dropped a pair to Peoria, 6-1 and 2-1, their seventh straight loss.

Once the poster boy of the Dodgers minor league system, Greg Miller was pitching and winning at Double-A Jacksonville at age 18. Reservations were being made at Cooperstown for the inevitable Hall of Fame ceremonies but then fate stepped in.

Now 22 and two years removed from his second shoulder surgery, Miller is being handled with care. He is on a pitch limit of about 80 early in the season and when he sailed through the SkySox lineup for six innings without allowing a run, a few in the crowd booed the decision to remove him.

"I just want to be able to get through this season healthy, and keeping me on a strict pitch count will help that," Miller told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after he made 77 pitches, 42 for strikes. He allowed one run -- unearned -- after a throwing error by shortstop Tony Abreu in the sixth inning. "The last thing I want to go through is a setback. I just want to make sure I'm healthy in September, rather than try to go out and complete a no-hitter [in April]."

Miller was relieved by right-hander Spike Lundberg, who allowed a line-drive single to the Sky Sox's Sean Barker with two outs in the seventh. Lundberg gave up two hits in two innings. Harold Eckert allowed four runs, three earned, on two hits in the ninth for the 51s (9-5).

"That shows the potential that he possesses," said 51s manager Lorenzo Bundy, adding there was "no chance" of Miller trying to finish the game. "He was fine with it. He knows what we're trying to get accomplished here. He's getting better and better every start."

In his previous start Saturday, the 6-foot-6-inch Miller was pulled after 70 pitches. He was overpowering while striking out seven in four innings in an 8-6 victory over Salt Lake.

Battery-mate Kelly Stinnett, who had a strong game at the plate and behind it. Stinnett hit a solo home run in the second inning and a two-run double in the sixth. Andy LaRoche's solo homer in the fourth inning put Las Vegas up 3-0. James Loney added a two-run double in the eighth.

Miller hit two batters in the first inning. One was caught trying to steal and Miller got a double play to end the inning. He retired seven in a row before he walked a man to lead off the fourth. The Sky Sox managed a run without a hit in the sixth after a walk, a stolen base and an error.
 Score by innings
Colorado Springs	000 001 004-5
Las Vegas	        110 103 12x-9

 Las Vegas	ab r h  bi  ave
Abreu ss	5  1  1  0  .385
Bigbie cf	5  0  2  0  .400
Loney rf	3  1  1  2  .250
LaRoche 3b	5  2  3  1  .259
Young lf	2  1  1  1  .277
Jones 1b	4  1  1  1  .370
Stinnett c	4  1  2  3  .242
Perez 2b	2  1  1  0  .282
Miller p	2  0  0  0  .000
 Barnes ph	1  0  0  0  .043
 Lundberg p	0  1  0  0  .000
 Eckert p	0  0  0  0  .000
   Las Vegas 	33 9 12 8
   CSprings	32 5  4 3

 Error- Abreu (2). 2B- Bigbie (4), 
Jones (7), Stinnett (1), Loney (2). 
HR- Stinnett (2), LaRoche (3). RBI- 
Stinnett 3 (5), LaRoche (7), Jones 
(15), Young (9), Loney 2 (13). SB- 
Young (2). LOB- Las Vegas 7, Colorado 
Springs 3. DP- 3 (LaRoche, Perez 
and Jones).

 Las Vegas	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Miller (1-0)	6.0  0  1-0  2  4   1.38
Lundberg	2.0  2  0-0  0  3   8.31
Eckert	        1.0  2  4-2  2  2  18.00
 HBP- Perez. Time- 2:42. Att- 4,642.
Suns Overcome-- Jacksonville shrugged off 15 walks and blasted out a 10-4 win at Huntsville to improve to 7-7 on the season.

Home runs by Anthony Raglani helped the Suns take an early 4-0 lead in the first inning with a three-run homer. Luke Allen delivered a two-run shot in the eighth. Leadoff man Chin Lung Ho went 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored, while Wilkin Ruan and Cory Dunlap each went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

With the pitching staff having difficulty with their direction finder, the suns needed all the hitting they could get.

Starter Alvis Ojeda walked eight four innings. B.J. LaMura (1-1) did not allow either a hit or a run in three innings and earned the win, but walked five. Matt Riley finished up, adding two walks, to the totals. Huntsville managed only five hits and left 15 men on base.

Suns pitchers have walked a whopping 39 batters in the first four games of the season, making Manager John Shoemaker and pitching coach Danny Darwin wonder just what in the world is happening.

On deck: The Suns hit the road after the game and will play four games against West Tenn before returning home April 27 to meet Montgomery.
 Score by innings
Jacksonville	401 020 030-10
Huntsville	102 100 000- 4

 Jacksonville  ab  r  h  bi  ave
Hu ss	        5  1  3  1  .320
Maza 2b	        4  1  0  0  .240
Ruan cf	        5  2  2  1  .280
Dunlap 1b	5  1  2  1  .188
McDougall 3b	4  1  1  2  .275
Raglani lf	3  2  1  3  .267
Allen rf	4  1  1  2  .227
Ellis c	        2  0  0  0  .000
Ojeda p	        2  0  0  0  .000
 LaMura p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Lindsey ph	1  1  1  0  .241
 Riley p	0  0  0  0  .000
    Totals	37 10 12 10
    Huntsville	30  4  5  3

 Error- Hu 2 (4). 2B- Ruan (1), Hu 
2 (4), Dunlap (2). HR- Raglani (4), 
Allen (1). RBI- McDougall 2 (8), 
Raglani 3 (10), Ruan (4), Dunlap (4), 
Allen 2 (3), Hu (5). S- LaMura. SF- 
McDougall. SB- Raglani (1), Hu (2). 
LOB- Jacksonville 4, Huntsville 15). 
DP- Ellis and Hu.

  Jacksonville	in  h  r-er  bb  so  era
Ojeda	        4.0  3  4-3  8  4  6.23
LaMura (1-1)	3.0  0  0-0  5  4  4.26
Riley	        2.0  2  0-0  2  4  1.00
 T- 3:12. Att- 1.317.
Bullpen Saves the Day-- High Desert scored two in the first inning on the Sixers' starter Javy Guerra and it looked as if it was going to be a long night. But that was all the offense Mavericks were going to have.

But Jordan Pratt took over in the fifth and pitched three shutout innings and Brent Leach nailed things down for his second save of the season as the Sixers improved to 8-6 on the season. The 'pen is now 8-2 and the Sixers starters have pitched the fewest innings in the league this season.

Guerra almost didn't make it out of the first inning, walking two and throwing wide of first base on a bunt. A double to left-center made it 2-0. Guerra then hit Adam Moore with a pitch to re-load the bases but recovered to complete four shaky innings without any more scoring.

Inland Empire didn't wait long to tie the game, scoring a pair in the second when Russ Mitchell doubled and Jamie Hoffmann hit his second homer of the year.

The Sixers broke the tie, with a little help by the Mavericks. With one out, Travis denker doubled to right and Ryan Rogowski lived on an error. Then with two out, Lucas May knocked in his 19th run of the young season to break the tie and the bullpen did the rest.
 Score by innings
High Desert	200 000 000-2
Inland Empire	020 001 00x-3

 Inland Empire ab  r  h  bi  ave
Rogowski lf	5  0  0  0  .260
 Godwin lf	0  0  0  0  .200
De Jesus ss	4  0  0  0  .255
May c	        4  0  2  1  .351
DeWitt 3b	5  0  1  0  .220
Mitchell 1b	4  1  2  0  .375
Hoffman cf	4  1  2  2  .346
Harper dh	3  0  0  0  .167
 Nicholson dh	0  0  0  0  .357
Locke lf	3  0  1  0  .275
Denker 2b	3  1  2  0  .667
  Sixers	35 3 10 3
  HiDesert	34 2  8 2

 Error- Guerra (1). 2B- Mitchell (6), 
DeWitt (4), Denker (1), HR- Hoffman 
(2). RBI- Hoffman 2 (14), May (16). 
SB- Locke (3). LOB- Inland Empire 13, 
High Desert 133.

 Sixers	        in   h  r-er bb  so  era
Guerra	        4.0  3  2-2  4  3  6.10
Pratt (2-0)	3.0  4  0-0  1  2  1.84
Leach (sv 2)	3.0  1  0-0  1  4  0.00
 WP- Guerra, Pratt, Leach. HBP- 
Locke, May. T- 3:07. Att- 1,180.
Kershaw Strong Again-- Clayton Kershaw worked into the sixth inning, allowing four hits and a single run while striking out seven. But that wasn't enough and he left with the score tied 1-1. Doug Brooks (1-2) finished the sixth but gave up a run in the seventh and was tagged with the loss in the first game of a doubleheader.

Peoria used three singles in the third to take a 1-0 lead. First baseman Eduardo Perez slugged a solo home run in the fourth inning, the first dinger in Great Lakes history, to tie the game 1-1.

The Loons out-hit Peoria 7-5 but couldn't shove another run across the plate. Catcher Kenley Jansen broke an 0-for-April slump with a single and a double. Preston Mattingly, Matt Berezay, Josh Bell, and Scott Van Slyke added hits.

?Broke the tie in the top of the seventh inning when right fielder Scott Van Slyke made a diving attempt to catch a looping drive but the ball skipped past him for a triple. A sacrifice fly with one-out and give the Chiefs the go-ahead run.
 Game 1
 Score by innings
Peoria	        001 000 1-2
Great Lakes	000 100 0-1

 Loons	       ab  r  h  bi  ave
Robinson cf	3  0  0  0  .279
Mattingly ss	4  0  1  0  .172
Berezay lf	3  0  1  0  .220
Bell 3b	        3  0  1  0  .194
Sutherland 1b	3  0  0  0  .214
Perez dh	3  1  1  1  .219
Van Slyke rf	3  0  1  0  .200
Jansen c	3  0  2  0  .111	
MRivera 2b	3  0  0  0  .211
  Loons	        28 1 7 1
  Peoria	23 2 5 2

 Error- Kershaw (1). 2B- Jansen (1). 
HR- Perez (1). RBI- Perez (2). 
LOB- Great Lakes 8, Peoria 3. 

 Loons	        in  h  r-er  bb  so  era
Kershaw	        5.2  4  1-1  2  7  1.38
Brooks (1-2)	1.1  1  1-1  0  1  5.79
 T- 1:58.
In game two, the Chiefs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, spraying five hits around the park off of Loons starter Steve Johnson (0-2). He completed four innings, allowing three hits and five runs, four earned, while fanning six.

The Loons offense continues to be nearly nonexistent, having scored only 11 runs in their last 62 innings.

?Right-fielder Scott Van Slyke singled and doubled as his father, former big-leaguer Andy Van Slyke watched. Bridger Hunt went 1-for-2 with a double and the only Great Lakes RBI, raising his average to .333 on the season. Justin Fuller also delivered a base hit for the Loons. 

?The Loons scored in the third inning when Van Slyke doubled down the right field line and later scored on a Hunt's sacrifice.

And in the "the only luck they are having is bad luck" department, the Loons attempted to rally in the bottom of the seventh as Josh Bell and Eduardo Perez walked to to lead off the inning but catcher Carlos Santana banged into a 5-4-3 triple play to end the game.

?The Loons drop to 4-9 with the double loss, their seventh in a row. Lefthander Cody White will attempt to break the hex tonight when they host Peoria again.
 Game 2
 Score by innings
Peoria	        401 001 0-6
Great Lakes	001 000 0-1

 Loons	       ab  r  h  bi  ave
Hunt cf	        2  0  1  1  .333
Mattingly ss	3  0  0  0  .156
Berezay lf	2  0  0  0  .209
Bell dh	        1  0  0  0  .189
Perez 1b	2  0  0  0  .206
Santana c	3  0  0  0  .097
Van Slyke rf	2  1  2  0  .250
Fuller 2b	2  0  1  0  .250
Lizarraga 2b	2  0  0  0  .321
  Loons	        19 1  4 1
  Peoria	32 6 10 4

 Error- Lizarraga (2), Mattingly (4). 
2b- Hunt (4). RBI- Hunt (1). SF- Hunt. 
CS- Fuller (1), Berezay (1). LOB- Great 
Lakes 2, Peoria 6.

  Loons	        in  h  re-r  bb  so  era
Johnson (0-2)	4.0  7  5-3  1  6  7.20
JRodriguez	3.0  3  1-1  0  1  2.70
 Balk- Johnson. TD- 2:03. Att- 3,190.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories