With several of the Arizona Diamondbacks ' veteran starters either on the disabled list or underachieving, rookie Wade Miley has not only emerged as the staff's unlikely anchor, but also as one of the top pitchers in the league.
Miley seeks to become the NL's first rookie with 10 wins before the All-Star break in a decade Saturday night when he, Aaron Hill and the Diamondbacks continue their series in Milwaukee against the Brewers.
Miley (9-3, 2.19 ERA), who maintains rookie status after throwing 40 innings for the Diamondbacks (39-37) in 2011, has pitched well all season but has really hit his stride in recent weeks, lasting seven innings or longer while giving up exactly one run in each of his last four starts. He was dominant against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, limiting them to three hits and one walk while striking out seven in a 5-1 victory.
The left-hander's ERA ranks fourth in the majors, making him a prime candidate to represent Arizona at the All-Star game.
"I've still got a couple more starts before then," Miley told the Diamondbacks' official website. "I try to keep that out of my head as much as possible. It'd be great but we have two and a half weeks left - have to focus on winning ball games."
If Miley wins one more, he'll become the first Arizona pitcher with 10 wins before the All-Star break since Brandon Webb (13-4) in 2008, and the first NL rookie to do so since 2002, when Kazuhisa Ishii was 11-5 for the Dodgers. He's proving even more valuable to the Diamondbacks with veterans Joe Saunders and Daniel Hudson on the DL, and last year's ace Ian Kennedy sporting a sub-.500 record and an ERA above the league average.
"He doesn't back down from anybody, he just throws strike one every time," catcher Miguel Montero said. "He competes and believes in his stuff."
Miley didn't have his best stuff against Milwaukee (34-42) on May 26, allowing five runs and eight hits in six innings, but it was good enough to get credit for Arizona's 8-5 win.
The Diamondbacks had an even better offensive night in Friday's series opener, winning 9-3 as Hill hit for the cycle for the second time in 12 days. He became the first major leaguer to hit for the cycle twice in one season since Babe Herman in 1931, and the first to do it twice in one calendar month since John Reilly in 1883.
Hill has torched Milwaukee pitching in 2012, going 10 for 15 with three doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored in four games. He's a .607 lifetime hitter versus the Brewers, getting at least one hit in all seven games he's played against them.
"He can really hit," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "This is a really good hitter. We made some bad pitches."
Neither Hill nor any other Arizona hitter has ever faced Michael Fiers (2-2, 2.70), who will take the ball Saturday for Milwaukee. The rookie right-hander enjoyed the best outing of his brief career Sunday, limiting the Chicago White Sox to five hits and one walk over 7 1-3 innings of a contest the Brewers lost 1-0 in 10 innings.
"It's OK. I've got to do my job and the runs we score is what we score," Fiers said. "If I get a loss, it doesn't matter to me. It's putting zeros up on the board and keeping my team in the game and getting a good result."
Milwaukee has lost five of six overall, and three straight against the Diamondbacks.
|June 26, 2012||Daniel Hudson||15-Day DL||Right foream tightness|
|June 17, 2012||Joe Saunders||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
|May 23, 2012||Miguel Montero||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|April 19, 2012||Daniel Hudson||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|April 19, 2012||Daniel Hudson||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|April 18, 2012||Chris Young||15-Day DL||Right shoulder contusion|
|June 15, 2012||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Right elbow tightness|
|June 02, 2012||Aramis Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left quadricep|
|May 31, 2012||Ryan Braun||Day-to-Day||Tight Achilles|
|May 28, 2012||Jonathan Lucroy||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand, out 4-6 weeks|
|May 26, 2012||Cesar Izturis||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|May 26, 2012||Travis Ishikawa||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- After a tumultuous offseason, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has had a strong start to this one.
Braun hit two home runs Saturday to give him the National League lead with 22 and lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 10-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks .
Braun, whose 50-game suspension was overturned before the season, is putting up numbers that are similar to his first half during the 2011 season when he was the NL MVP. And that has come with the free agent departure of Prince Fielder , who hit behind Braun last season.
He is hitting .313 and has 55 RBIs to go along with his league leading home runs.
"It's been good so far," Braun said. "The one thing that challenges me is plate discipline and sometimes I've been swinging out of the strike zone. But overall, I am happy with where I am at."
As is Brewers manager Ron Roenicke , who said Braun's first home run in the third inning came off a very good pitch from Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley that was low and outside.
"There are not too many guys who can drive the ball like he does," Roenicke said. "He can still hit the ball out of every part of the ballpark."
Roenicke was also thrilled with the start of rookie pitcher Mike Fiers (3-2), who pitched six shutout innings to get the win. He struggled early in the game stranding five runners in the first three innings, but retired the last 11 batters he faced and ended up with a career-high 10 strikeouts.
In all, Fiers has not given up a run in his past 19 innings.
"He's a hard guy to figure out" for hitters, Roenicke said. "The ball is all over the place. He's been great for us. He really had a nice ball game tonight."
Fiers said he had to work through some control issues in the first inning, but felt really good as the game went along.
"You have to be able to pitch through the tough times," he said.
Cody Ransom hit a three-run homer and Carlos Gomez also hit a home run as the Brewers had 13 hits and scored the most runs since May 20 when Milwaukee beat Minnesota 16-4.
Miley (9-4) lasted just 3 2/3 innings for Arizona, giving up eight runs and eight hits. Miley failed in his attempt to become the first Arizona pitcher to record 10 wins before the All-Star break since Brandon Webb (13-4) in 2008, and the first National League rookie to do so since 2002, when Kaz Ishii was 11-5 for the Los Angeles Dodgers .
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said Miley missed his spot with Braun twice and paid for it.
"You can't do that to a great hitter like Braun," Gibson said. "Wow. He's leading the league in home runs for a reason."
The Brewers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Corey Hart led off with a triple off the center field wall. He scored when Rickie Weeks struck out, but the ball got past Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero on a wild pitch.
Braun's third-inning solo home run gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
The Brewers broke the game open in the fourth inning, scoring six runs. After Hart and Weeks singled, Ransom hit his seventh home run of the season. Carlos Gomez hit an RBI triple and Braun followed with a two-run homer to give the Brewers an 8-0 lead and force Miley from the game.
Ransom's RBI single in the fifth inning and Gomez's fourth home run of the season in the sixth inning increased the lead to 10-0.
Gerardo Parra 's fielder's choice in the eighth inning and Miguel Montero 's eighth home run of the season in the ninth inning accounted for Arizona's runs.
Notes: Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said RHP Daniel Gibson (3-2, 7.35 ERA) got a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum, which confirmed he has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He said the date for Hudson's surgery may be set as soon as Monday. ... Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was on the field during batting practice chatting with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke . ... The game's attendance was 41,647, the Brewers' 10th sellout of the season.