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Shelby Millers 4-month winless streak reaches 22 starts as Atlanta Braves fall to Blue Jays 9-1
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller (17) follows through on a pitch in the first inning of Wednesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Atlanta. - photo by John Bazemore

ATLANTA — Shelby Miller insists pitching four months without a win isn’t wearing on him mentally.

Approaching 200 innings for the first time may be taking the bigger toll.

Miller gave up four runs in the first inning and had his shortest start of the season as the Atlanta Braves lost to David Price and the Toronto Blue Jays 9-1 on Wednesday night.

Miller (5-15) gave up five runs, four earned, in 3 2-3 innings.

Despite the short start, he reached 185 innings for the first time in his career. He said he’s feeling the effects of the workload more than the pressure of 22 consecutive winless starts.

“Not really anything mentally,” Miller said. “More physically. You kind of get tired. You’ve got to stake out these last couple starts and see what happens.”

Miller’s streak of winless starts is the longest for any pitcher in a season he was an All-Star. The right-hander has the worst run support in the majors and has 14 losses since his last win on May 17.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Miller needs to find a way to make it through his last few starts.

“It’s got to be tough for a young man to go through what he’s going through,” Gonzalez said. “I think if he keeps his nose to the grindstone, he’ll be a better person, a better pitcher at the end of it.”

The Braves’ run came in the first. Nick Markakis hit a leadoff double and scored on Freddie Freeman’s fly ball. Christian Bethancourt had three hits.

Price (16-5) allowed one run in seven innings and Russell Martin hit a homer and drove in four runs for Toronto.

Price gave up six hits and had nine strikeouts as he improved to 7-1 since coming to Toronto in a trade with Detroit in late July. Four of the seven wins have followed losses; the latest stopped a two-game skid.

The Blue Jays stayed three games ahead of second-place New York in the division. The Yankees beat the Rays 3-1.

Toronto had 12 hits as it returned to its customary high-scoring pace after managing only a combined two runs in two straight losses, including a 3-2 loss to the Braves on Tuesday night. Martin hit a two-run double in the four-run first and added a two-run homer off Ryan Kelly in the ninth.


Price walked Bethancourt and pinch-hitter Ryan Lavarnway to open the fifth but then had help from an unusual double play. Second baseman Cliff Pennington couldn’t catch a shallow pop fly by Markakis, but his throw to Ryan Goins forced Lavarnway at second. Goins threw to third baseman Josh Donaldson, who tagged Bethancourt when he slid past the bag.


BLUE JAYS: Gibbons said RHP LaTroy Hawkins was available after being held out with right forearm soreness for four days.

BRAVES: RHP Jason Grilli, recovering from surgery on July 17 to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon, said he hopes to be ready for spring training. He said he’ll soon be free of his walking boot. Grilli was named the Braves’ Roberto Clemente Award nominee. … OF Cameron Maybin was 0 for 4 and struck out in his first three at-bats in his first start since suffering an abrasion in his left eye on Sept. 5.


BLUE JAYS: RHP Marco Estrada will try to give the Blue Jays the series win over the Braves. Estrada (12-8) is 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA since the All-Star break. He is 2-0 in three games, including two starts, against NL teams this season.

BRAVES: Rookie RHP Matt Wisler will try to snap a personal six-game losing streak. His last win was on July 26. Wisler is 5-7 with a 5.60 ERA after winning five of his first six decisions.