Former Tiger Brad Miller homers twice, as Rays lose to Yanks
NEW YORK (AP) — Brad Miller is quietly becoming one of baseball’s better power hitters.
Miller homered twice off Masahiro Tanaka, driving in four runs in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 8-4 loss Saturday to the New York Yankees.
With 22 home runs this season, the 26-year-old Miller has doubled his previous big league best. He had a four-RBI game for the first time since September 2013.
“I’m honestly just trying to keep getting more consistent and not give away at-bats,” he said.
Drafted in the second round by Seattle in 2011, he was acquired from the Mariners in November, and the Rays moved him Monday from shortstop to first base. His three-run homer in the fourth and solo shot in the sixth gave him 52 RBIs, second on the Rays behind Evan Longoria.
Miller has 12 homers since the start of July. He had entered 2 for 15 against Tanaka (9-4).
“He can throw three or four different pitches in there at any time, so you got to be ready when a good one comes in,” Miller said.
Last-place Tampa Bay has lost three straight games and five of six. At 46-69, the Rays matched their season worst of 23 games under .500.
Tanaka retired Tampa Bay’s first 10 batters before Kevin Kiermaier reached on a bunt single, Longoria singled and Miller homered into the left-field seats for a 3-2 lead. The drive overcame consecutive second-inning home runs by Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge, the first teammates to homer in the same game in the first at-bats of their major league debut.
Judge looked like Paul Bunyan at a burly 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds.
“If he wasn’t playing baseball, it looks like he should be a defensive end somewhere,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s massive.”
Matt Andriese (6-4) gave up four home runs in five innings on a humid afternoon with a 95-degree temperature at game time. Starlin Castro’s home run tied the score in the fourth and Aaron Hicks’ three-run drive gave New York a 6-3 lead in the fifth. Didi Gregorius added a two-run homer in the seventh against Erasmo Ramirez.
Andriese had allowed five home runs in 10 previous starts and 10 relief appearances this season.
“It’s a tough day to pitch,” he said. “A lot of sweat pouring out. Tough to grip the ball, but I don’t like to make excuses like that.”
Rays: Kiermaier went 1 for 4 after missing Friday due to a stomach virus.
RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-5) starts Sunday’s series finale for the Rays and RHP Luis Severino (1-7) for the Yankees. Odorizzi is 3-0 with an AL-best 1.13 ERA since the All-Star break.