Martinez proud of former pupil Miller

Martinez proud of former pupil Miller

HOUSTON -- After pitching the best game of his Major League career by retiring 27 Colorado batters in a row Friday after a leadoff single, Cardinals 22-year-old pitcher Shelby Miller said he remembered something Dennis Martinez told him when he was the Cards' Minor League pitching coach.

"He said you walk off the mound like you don't want to leave and you run out there because you can't wait to get back out there," Miller told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Martinez knows something about retiring 27 straight batters. He pitched a perfect game for the Montreal Expos against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1991. In his first season as bullpen coach of the Astros, Martinez was thrilled to see Miller pitch so well.

"It's always great to know that guys -- especially Shelby, who was with me with the Cardinals' organization -- are able to recognize that and say that at the time after he pitched an outstanding ballgame," Martinez said. "I watched a little bit of the highlights of that game and he was outstanding. He hit the outside corners consistently and had a good breaking ball.

"The thing I like about him is he's determined. He's able to complete. He's always competing and all he needs to do is establish the fastball away on the outside corner."

Martinez isn't surprised to see Miller, who was drafted 19th overall in 2009, have such a dominating game in the big leagues.

"He had the tools to get better in every aspect of the pitching perspective and locate the fastball better," he said. "Our job was to reinforce the way they're supposed to take care of business when they take the mound. It's nice to hear he said something like that. That's what it takes. A little thing you tell them or talk to them about, and they're able to pick it up and take that. I'm happy to see him succeeding."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.