Miller shines in return to the majors, helps Giants to 6-5 win over Snakes

The San Francisco Giants David Villar (right) gets a forearm bash from teammate Austin Wynns (left) after hitting a two run homer against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix on Fri Sep 23, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Daniel Dullum

Friday, September 23, 2022

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Because of the way scoring works in baseball, Shelby Miller didn’t get the win on Friday night in San Francisco’s 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The well-traveled, 31-year-old Miller was just happy for another shot at the major leagues after the Giants selected his contract from Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday.

“It’s crazy to be back,” Miller said. “And it’s good that it was here in Arizona, where I live, so it’s nice to be back, for sure.”

Miller struck out seven of the 12 Arizona batters he faced in 2 2/3 scoreless innings before he was pulled after giving up a two-out double to Ketel Marte in the eighth. Alex Young (1-1) retired pinch-hitter Daulton Varsho to end the threat. Young was the pitcher of record when the Giants took the lead for good.

“Things went better than I hoped they would,” Miller said. “I felt like I commanded my fastball really well and got ahead of guys. My slider was working; just commanding everything and having the hitters on their heels a little bit.

“That was the plan, to get ahead of these guys and have some success.”

I know the season’s coming to an end, and however I can contribute to this team, I’ll try to help. I don’t know if this will benefit me for next year, but I’ll do the best I can and we’ll see what happens.”

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said Miller’s stuff “looked great,” adding, “I’ve seen Shelby have success in the past and it was nice to see him come through like that. He’s been waiting a long time for this opportunity. He came into this game and gave us exactly what we were looking for – he delivered strikes, he worked fast and forced the action.”

The Giants have won five straight games and nine of their last 13. San Francisco manufactured the eventual winning run in the top of the ninth inning.

After Mike Yastrzemski rapped a two-out single, Evan Longoria reached on a fielder’s choice, moving Yastrzemski to third on an error by Diamondbacks third baseman Sergio Alcantara. J.D. Davis followed with a double to left off Caleb Smith (1-3), driving in Yastrzemski with Longoria thrown out at the plate.

In the D-Backs ninth, San Francisco closer Camilo Doval retired Pavin Smith on a groundout and struck out Christian Walker before pinch-hitter Juan Rojas singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pinch-hitter Alex Thomas grounded out to first baseman Davis to wrap up his 25th save.

“Camilo threw a slider at 101, and a sinker at 95 or 96. That’s quite a fluctuation,” Kapler said. “When Camilo introduced the sinker, it changed his arsenal entirely. At one point, the league was sitting on his four-seamer and slider combo. Lefties were giving him a hard time. Since the sinker came out, it’s been a whole different ballgame.”

San Francisco threatened in the seventh against Diamondbacks reliever

Luis Frias when pinch-hitter LaMonte Wade Jr. walked, Longoria reached on a two-out single and Davis walked to load the bases. But Frias struck out Brandon Crawford to end the rally.

Giants’ starter Carlos Rodón, pitching on eight days rest to allow a blister on his left hand to heal, left after throwing 93 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three while giving up four earned runs on four hits.

Kapler said it was “very difficult” to pull Rodón in the fifth inning. “It was difficult because we’ve seen him work out of jams like that in the past. So this was very much a what’s better for Carlos and his future decision. Unfortunately, as difficult as that was, it maybe wasn’t an ideal decision for us as a club.

“If it was the middle of the season, we might have let Carlos throw another 10 or 15 pitches. We felt pretty good about bringing in (Yunior) Marte in that situation. That was a decision, right or wrong, that I felt was best for his future.”

A two-out solo home run by Crawford, his ninth of the season, put San Francisco up 1-0 in the second inning. Austin Wynns hit the first pitch he saw from Diamondbacks starter Tommy Henry and parked it in the left field seats to lead off the third, giving the Giants a 2-0 lead.

Arizona tied the game at 2-2 on Stone Garrett’s fourth home run, a two-run shot with two out in the bottom of the third. After Rodón walked Ketel Marte, Garrett drove a fastball up in the zone to left-center and out of the reach of leftfielder Luis Gonzalez.

San Francisco regained the lead at 4-2 on two-run home run by Austin Wynns in the top of the fourth. Longoria led off the inning with a base hit and was thrown out at second after a shallow fly ball to right, allowing Davis to reach on a fielder’s choice. After Crawford struck out, Wynns homered to left, his second of the season.

The Giants extended their lead to 5-2 on Evan Longoria’s RBI single to left. With two out, Wilmer Flores, who walked and was sacrificed to second by Yastrzemski, scored on Longoria’s sharp grounder down the left field line.

That was the end of the night for Henry, who gave up five earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks in 4 2/3 innings.

On Saturday, the Giants’ Alex Cobb (6-6, 3.48) faces Arizona’s Merrill Kelly (12-7, 3.15) in a battle of right-handers. Game time is 5:10 p.m.

GIANTS JOTTINGS: LHP Carlos Rodón has a chance to be the sixth Giants pitcher to lead the National League in strikeouts. Rodón is second in the NL with 227 strikeouts, trailing Milwaukee’s Corbin Burns, who has 228 after Friday’s games. Tim Lincecum is the only San Francisco Giant to lead the NL in strikeouts (2006, 2009, 2010). … When RHP Shelby Miller appeared in the sixth inning, he became the 64th player used by the Giants this season. That matches a team record set in 2019. The Cubs, Angels and Pirates have also used 64 players this season; the leader is Cincinnati with 66. … Attendance at Chase Field for the 3-hour, 37-minute game was 25,949.

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