DETROIT (AP) — The Cleveland Indians are still being aggressive with reliever Andrew Miller — and the tall left-hander is showing no ill effects from his impressive workload.
Miller struck out four in two scoreless innings, and the Indians held off the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday night. It was the kind of extended outing that made Miller such a valuable part of the Cleveland bullpen when he led the Indians to the World Series last year. After an offseason that included the World Baseball Classic, he says he still feels good.
“I don’t think I need to catch my breath,” Miller said. “I felt pretty good in the offseason. I felt like I took care of what I needed to, and I think the WBC was good for me.”
This was the first time this season that Miller had thrown two innings, but the Indians are still leaning on him quite a bit. Cleveland has played 27 games — exactly one sixth of the regular season — and Miller has pitched 13 2/3 innings. That puts him on pace to reach 80 innings for the first time since 2009, when he was mostly a starter.
Jose Ramirez hit a two-run triple in the fourth, and the Indians rebounded a bit after losing the first two of the four-game set. Carlos Carrasco (3-2) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.
Cody Allen walked two in the ninth but struck out Jim Adduci with the tying run on third to end it. Allen has seven saves in seven chances.
“He had his best stuff by the time I got in there,” Adduci said. “I battled him, but he threw a great pitch with two strikes.”
The Tigers wasted a solid start by Matthew Boyd (2-2), who allowed three runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings, and lost second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was removed in the top of the seventh inning with left hamstring tightness.
Carrasco had pitched eight innings in each of his previous two starts, but he only went six Wednesday and said he wasn’t feeling his best. Manager Terry Francona went with Miller for two innings, although his 26-pitch total wasn’t out of the ordinary for him this season.
“When we go into it, we don’t ever really think `two’ — just set it up where if he has a quick inning, it’s open for that,” Francona said. “When he’s working on some rest, to me it makes sense.”
Miller hadn’t pitched since Saturday.
Ramirez gave the Indians a 2-0 lead with his big hit in the fourth, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis.
“I felt really good out there, but I wish I could have the pitch to Ramirez back,” Boyd said. “I thought I did a nice job, and we played well enough to win, but Carrasco was a couple pitches better than I was.”
Adduci hit an RBI single in the fifth for Detroit, and Victor Martinez made it 3-2 in the sixth with a sacrifice fly.
Once that inning was over, the Indians went with Miller and Allen the rest of the way.
The Indians turned a rare 6-3-5 double play in the fourth. Miguel Cabrera was on second with nobody out when Martinez grounded out to the shortstop. On the throw to first, Cabrera tried to take third, but first baseman Carlos Santana threw him out on a close play.
Indians: Cleveland put RHP Corey Kluber on the disabled list before the game with a lower back strain.
Tigers: Cabrera, who came off the DL before Tuesday’s game, was in the starting lineup and played the entire game Wednesday. Cabrera homered Tuesday after returning from a groin problem, but he was removed from that game in the late innings.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (2-2) takes the mound against the Tigers in the series finale Thursday.
Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer (2-1) starts for Detroit. Fulmer was the AL Rookie of the Year last season, but he went just 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA against the Indians.