Shelby Miller shines in Triple-A start after given week off

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Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller allowed 17 runs in 13 2/3 innings over his first three starts this month at Triple-A Memphis, continuing a run of disappointing results that dates back to mid-May. So St. Louis’ higher-ups decided to skip his next turn in the rotation and instituted a “no-shake rule” to keep him from relying too heavily on his mid-90s fastball.

That strategy seems to have worked wonders.

Miller allowed just one hit — a solo homer — in a five-inning outing Wednesday night at Memphis, striking out eight batters and walking three. The Texas native still has an ugly 5.70 ERA on the year and clearly won’t be ready for the majors as early as the Cards were hoping. But his strikeout rate (10.3 K/9) is still good and he’s certainly capable of getting on a roll.

Miller was the 19th overall pick in the 2009 Amateur Draft. He doesn’t turn 22 years old until October 10.

Anthony DeSclafani crushed a grand slam for his first career home run

Anthony DeSclafani
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Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:

Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.

The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.

The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.