Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Shelby Miller collects himself on the mound after giving up a three run home run to Pittsburgh Pirates' Gregory Polanco during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Tuesday,
Gene J. Puskar
May 25, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) Shelby Miller knows his job is to keep the ball in the strike zone and the ballpark.

At the moment, the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher is doing neither.

Shaky once again, Miller's woeful start with the Diamondbacks continued in a 12-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. He gave up three runs before retiring a batter and needed 107 pitches to get through five uneven innings, falling to 1-6. Dating back to May 23, 2015, Miller is 2-22.

''It's disappointing,'' Miller said. ''I feel I'm obviously a better pitcher than this, but the results just aren't there. I'm not going to quit, though.''

The Diamondbacks acquired Miller in December figuring he and Zack Greinke could spearhead the club's return to contention. The transition for both has been uneasy at best. Greinke's ERA is 4.59 and Miller's rose to 7.09 - higher than his ERA in 2014 and 2015 combined (6.76) - after another bumpy night in which developing any sort of rhythm proved elusive.

Miller walked John Jaso to start the bottom of the first. Andrew McCutchen singled up the middle and Gregory Polanco drove the ball well over the fence to make it 3-0 before the Diamondbacks got their first out. Miller has now given up 10 home runs in 45 2/3 innings this season. He surrendered only 13 in 205 1/3 innings last season for Atlanta.

''I keep putting the leadoff hitter on base and that keeps hurting me,'' Miller said. ''I've got to stop doing it. That's pretty simple. I didn't have command of my fastball tonight and it got me into the jams that I wasn't able to escape.''

Miller had been slightly better this month after slogging through a lifeless April but regressed on a night the Pirates spread 17 hits between 11 players while improving to 6-2 during their current 10-game homestand.

Polanco's shot to the concourse in right-center field off Miller in the first inning gave Pittsburgh an early boost. Francisco Liriano (4-3) scattered two hits in 5 2/3 innings and added an RBI single.

After a short adjustment period, Polanco has thrived batting third in the lineup, hitting .317 (20 of 63) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 15 games.

''You put good hitters at third,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''It's been a nice run for him.''

The Pirates piled on quickly. Jordy Mercer hit a two-run double in the third, and Liriano followed two batters later with a sharp single to left. The former outfielder is hitting .348 (8 for 23) with four RBIs on the season.


Pittsburgh reliever Arquimedes Caminero was ejected in the eighth after hitting a pair of batters in the head. Caminero drilled 2B Jean Segura in the seventh and Nick Ahmed in the eighth. Segura was sent to the hospital for tests after showing signs of a concussion. Caminero has struggled all season, walking 13 and hitting three in just 17 1/3 innings of work.

''Guys need to keep the ball down and away from the head area,'' Arizona manager Chip Hale said. ''If a guy can't do it then he has no business being up here in the major leagues.''


Diamondbacks: OF David Peralta is hitting off a tee and sending Hale texts about how rapidly his inflamed right wrist is improving. Peralta went on the disabled list on May 15. ... Reliever Josh Collmenter was scheduled to make a rehab appearance at Triple-A Reno. Collmenter has been on the disabled list all season with right shoulder inflammation.

Pirates: Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong has multiple facial fractures and significant swelling over his left eye after getting hit by a fastball from Colorado's Jordan Lyles on Monday. Vogelsong remained in the hospital on Tuesday and trainer Todd Tomczyk said it could be several days before the swelling subsides enough to get a clearer picture of the extent of Vogelsong's injuries, though Vogelsong's vision has not been severely affected. Pittsburgh called up A.J. Schugel to fill Vogelsong's spot on the roster.


Diamondbacks: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.53 ERA) returns to work on Wednesday after the Diamondbacks skipped his spot in the rotation while he dealt with a sore groin. De La Rosa is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last five starts.

Pirates: Jeff Locke (3-3, 4.63 ERA) looks for a second straight victory in the middle game of the three-game set. Locke is 0-2 with a 6.87 ERA in four career appearances against the Diamondbacks.

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