Miller’s night: “It was a Murphy’s Law start”

“It was a Murphy’s Law start. Everything bad that could have happened happened.”

The words of Braves radio announcer Jim Powell after Shelby Miller’s five innings in Tuesday night’s 6-1 loss against Washington. A bizarre five innings that saw Miller strike out 10 Nationals, but also allow five runs on eight hits and three walks.

“They squared up some balls early in the game and then he just got himself in trouble the rest of the game,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t a normal Shelby Miller outing, and shoot, he’s allowed to have that every once in a while (with how good he’s been). So now we go on to his next start.”

The Braves are accustomed to brief first innings with Miller on the mound, as he’d allowed one run on three hits out of all first innings this season.

Not Tuesday night.

Miller created his own bad luck in the top frame, allowing four runs on two singles, a double and a two-run home run from Clint Robinson.

“If I could take it back I wouldn’t have thrown Robinson a curveball,” Miller said after the game. “I think that did him a huge favor with a hanging curveball inside. I probably should have stuck with something else that I’d been throwing a little bit better than that.”

After Miller tossed a one-two-three second inning, Danny Espinosa led off the third with a jam-shot bloop single to left and Yunel Escobar followed with a sacrifice bunt.

Or, what should have been a sacrifice bunt.

Juan Uribe bare-handed the ball off the infield grass with no problem, but it slipped out as he pulled his arm up to throw, putting runners on first and second with no outs.

Bryce Harper advanced both runners with a deep fly-out to left.

The next batter, Wilson Ramos, grounded softly to Andrelton Simmons, who threw home to catch Espinosa in a rundown between third and home. But A.J. Pierzynski rushed his throw to third and it bounced wide-right of Uribe, allowing Espinosa to score an unearned run.

Miller struck out the next two batters to escape the inning.

This was one of Shelby’s worst starts this year, yet he still struck out six batters with runners in scoring position.

“At the end of the day we did some good jobs of getting out of some jams,” Miller said. “But at the same time, tough loss. … It’s not going to be seven innings and zero runs every single time against guys like that. You’re going to have rough games. It happens to everybody, but you just put this one past (you) and go on to the next one and get ready for the Phillies.”

The loss brings Miller to 5-4 and his ERA to 2.20. It’s yet another weird start in a bizarre month-and-a-half for Miller, whose his last win came on May 17 despite compiling a 3.17 ERA since then. He’s lost two other games in that span, allowing one earned run over 12 2/3 innings in those games.