Miller targets 14th win in finale with Mariners

7:41 AM, Sep 15, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - Shelby Miller goes after win No. 14 on Sunday when the St. Louis Cardinals close out their three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Busch Stadium.

Miller was terrific in beating the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, as he scattered five hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings to improve to 13-9, while lowering his ERA to 3.05.

It was Miller's seventh scoreless start of five innings or more and 12th quality start this season.

"We know what's at stake, and we know every day how many games we're ahead by," Miller said after becoming the league's second rookie to 13 wins. "I think it makes it more fun for us to come to the field every day and know we're in a big race."

Seattle, meanwhile, will counter with righty Erasmo Ramirez, who is 5-1 with a 4.57 ERA. Ramirez tossed six-plus scoreless innings last Sunday versus Tampa Bay, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 4-1 loss. He gave up four hits in that one and also walked a season-high four batters.

"Even if I walked four and had strikeouts and everything, I threw for contact," Ramirez said. "Every time I'm going to throw the ball, I think about just throwing the ball for the hit and making contact and not letting the ball get right over home plate, but trying to hit the corners. Maybe for that reason I walked a lot of people today because I wanted to throw the ball closer to the corner."

The 23-year-old missed the first three months with an elbow issue but has a 2.27 ERA in his past five starts.

On Saturday, Franklin Gutierrez and Kendrys Morales highlighted Seattle's offense and James Paxton silenced the Cardinals over six scoreless innings in a 4-1 triumph.

Paxton (2-0) won his MLB debut last week against the Tampa Bay Rays and held another playoff contender in check yesterday as the 24-year-old lefty limited the Cardinals to just two singles and two walks while striking out five.

"It's nice to see him step up like that," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of his young starter.

Gutierrez recorded a two-run double and Morales added a solo homer as Seattle snapped a five-game skid and handed Michael Wacha (3-1) his first loss. Wacha, making his seventh career start, struck out seven over five innings but gave up two runs on four hits and four walks in the setback.

St. Louis fell to 6-2 on its homestand and dropped back into a tie with the Pirates atop the NL Central after Pittsburgh held off the Cubs on Saturday.

"We need to get some offense going," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

The Cardinals are 7-4 all-time versus the Mariners, winning six of eight in St. Louis.

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