Miller makes big play in D-backs’ win over Cleveland


By Bob Baum - AP Sports Writer



By Bob Baum

AP Sports Writer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Shelby Miller allowed three hits over 6 2/3 innings and made a remarkable defensive play in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

Miller, the No. 2 pitcher in the Arizona rotation, gave up a run on Tyler Naquin’s home run, struck out four, walked one and hit a batter. And he ended the fourth with a no-look, behind-the-back, between-the-legs catch of Robbie Grossman’s line drive.

“I just tried to put a glove on the ball and got lucky,” Miller said. “That happens every once in a while.”

Cleveland opening day starter Corey Kluber gave up six runs — four earned — in 6 1/3 innings, striking out four with no walks.

Arizona’s Jake Lamb drove in three runs off Kluber with a solo homer and two-run single.

Nick Ahmed, in competition for the Diamondbacks’ shortstop job, was 2 for 3 and is hitting .412 this spring.

Naquin, told earlier in the day he would make the opening day roster, had three hits to raise his spring average to .476.

Miller shut out the Indians on two hits through five innings before Naquin led off the sixth with a home run to center field. It was Naquin’s third homer this spring.

Lamb hit his third homer with a one-out shot to right field on the first pitch he saw from Kluber in the second inning. But he was more pleased with the second at-bat.

“I laid off a 1-2 slider, a pretty good one, then came through with that hit,” Lamb said. “Then obviously my first AB (the home run), just being aggressive. I’ve been happy with how I’m feeling up there.”

Arizona’s Socrates Brito was thrown out twice trying to steal second.

The Diamondbacks improved their spring training record to 20-4-2, the best in the majors.

STARTING TIME

Indians: Kluber had allowed one run in 14 innings this spring entering the game. But manager Terry Francona was not at all unhappy with his late struggles. The right-hander gave up five runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

“Even though he gave up some runs it was really good to make him work,’” Francona said, “let him get a little bit tired, have to get through some things. He ended up at 98 (pitches) but he got a lot out of the day, which is exactly what you want.”

Diamondbacks: Miller, acquired in an off-season trade with Atlanta, threw 88 pitches, 59 for strikes.

“I felt like for the most part we did a good job of getting ahead in the count,” he said. “Me and Weli (catcher Welington Castillo) were on the same page the whole time.”

TRAINING ROOM

Indians: OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder) was to be evaluated by a team doctor Friday to determine the next step in his recovery, with the goal of resuming his hitting program. He could start the season on the disabled list. He may only play in minor league games when he does return this spring, so his time on the DL would be retroactive to his last major league appearance in spring training. … OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right forearm tightness) was scratched from the lineup and instead played in a minor league game.

Diamondbacks: Manager Chip Hale said OF A.J. Pollock (right elbow) would play in minor league games Saturday and Sunday. Pollock was 0-for-4 in a minor league game on Thursday, his first at-bats in game action since early in the spring.

UP NEXT

Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco starts for Cleveland against RHP Tim Melville for the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday at the park the teams share in Goodyear.

Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin, with a .063 ERA this spring, starts for Arizona on Saturday. RHP Matt Garza is on the mound for Milwaukee at the Brewers’ park in Phoenix.

By Bob Baum

AP Sports Writer

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