D-backs minor league report: Miller brews up dominance for Hops

Jared Miller is 6-0 with an 0.66 ERA in six starts for Hillsboro.

While it’s been four long days without regular-season baseball, the minor leagues were back going full bore on Thursday, and one of the day’s most exceptional performances was turned in by Hillsboro Hops left-hander Jared Miller.

Miller, a 11th-round draft choice out of Vanderbilt in 2014,struck out 11 and give up only three hits and one walk in six scoreless innings for the Hops in a 4-0 victory over Eugene. Miller is now 6-0 in six starts for the Hops, with an 0.66 ERA over 41 innings pitched.

Hillsboro is a step back for Miller after he began the year at Kane County in the Midwest League. He made six starts there, going 2-3 with a 6.91 ERA, before heading back to extended spring training for some adjustments and to work on a sinker.

"A lot of it has to do with I’ve been feeling good," Miller told milb.com. "I’ve been in a good place lately, mentally, physically, and I’ve been attacking the zone. I’ve been learning a new sinker and I’ve been throwing that a lot and getting good results. Also, I’ve been trying to get ahead early and not worrying about striking guys out until I have two strikes. That mentality really seems to help.

"I knew to play in the big leagues, I’d have to be able to sink the ball. I was working on a different sinker with coach Doug Bochtler in Kane County, and in Arizona I was talking with (Rookie-level Billings reliever) Dan Savas and watching how he throws his fastball. He showed me what he does and I toyed around with it a little, and I’ve gone with it ever since."

Elsewhere on Thursday, Danny Dorn continued his other-worldly hitting for Reno, going 2 for 3 with his sixth home run in a 9-3 loss to Salt Lake City. Dorn is now hitting .432 in 169 at-bats with an OPS of 1.133. Starting pitcher Allen Webster was roughed up for seven earned runs and eight hits over six innings, and Evan Marshall’s struggles in the bullpen continued, as he gave up two hits and two runs without retiring a batter. Marshall, who entered the season as a set-up man at the major-league level, saw his Reno earned run average rise to 7.77, while Webster’s is now at 7.78.

Outfielder Zach Borenstein continued his torrid hitting as the D-backs’ Double-A team in Mobile defeated Jackson, 8-3. Borenstein was 2 for 4 with 3 RBI and is now hitting .325 with a .986 OPS. Outfielder Socrates Brito was 3 for 4 with his fourth home run, and outfielder Stewart Ijames, recently promoted from Visalia, had two hits to raise his Double-A average to .343.

Visalia improved to 57-33 on the year as Jamie Westbrook went 4 for 5 with two triples and a double in a 7-4 win over Lake Elsinore. Westbrook, a third baseman, was a fifth-round draft pick out of Basha High School in Chandler in 2013. Mitch Haniger, acquired in last year’s Gerardo Parra trade, went 2 for 3 with two walks and is now hitting .388 with seven home runs and 19 extra-base hits in his first 20 games for the Rawhide.