Except for winning the game, St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitcher Shelby Miller couldn't have asked for a better major league debut.
Miller, a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2009, was called up by St. Louis on Tuesday and got into action on Wednesday.
He was impressive in tossing two scoreless innings that featured four strikeouts — including striking out the side in the seventh — but the only blemish was that the Cardinals were beaten 6-2 by the New York Mets.
"I'm happy for Shelby that he got his first game in and he obviously threw the ball well," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's obviously a nice way to break into the league."
After shooting through the lower minors, the 21-year-old Miller figured to be the first pitcher called up from Triple A. But Miller struggled — going 4-8 with an ERA over 6 in 17 games at Memphis — and others, such as Joe Kelly, jumped over him.
In his last 10 starts, Miller went 7-2 and earned his trip to the majors. He showed Wednesday that he wants to stick around.
"I didn't really think I was going to go in," Miller said. "When I finally got the call, it was crazy. There were so many things going through my head. Everything worked out really well."
Miller topped out at 94 mph. Usually a starter, Miller said he tried to take the same approach coming in from the bullpen.
"I just treated it as a regular start, pretty much," Miller said. "(I) went in there and just tried to throw strikes and get hitters out. That's the only approach I really had."
The Mets did most of their damage off of starter Adam Wainwright (13-12), who allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.
However, Wainwright delivered the Cardinals' first run when he led off the third inning with a home run against R.A. Dickey, who earned his major league-leading 18th win. It was Wainwright's first homer of the season and the sixth of his major league career.
"Not good," Wainwright said. "I wasn't sharp by any means. I was battling my arm slot again."
Dickey didn't have his best stuff, but had enough to earn his 18th win. Ike Davis hit a three-run homer to help his cause.
The knuckleballer allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings and became the first Mets pitcher to reach 18 wins since Frank Viola (20-12) and Dwight Gooden (19-7) both did it in 1990. Dickey (18-4) gave up eight hits and struck out five to help New York salvage a win to close out the three-game series.
Davis gave the Mets a 5-1 lead with his 26th homer, and Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4 to lift his average in day games to an NL-best .351 (65 for 185). Josh Thole and Andres Torres had RBI singles, and Lucas Duda drove in the Mets' other run with a bases-loaded walk.
After Wainwright's homer cut the Mets' advantage to 2-1, New York stretched its lead in the fifth on Davis' shot.