MIL@STL: Adams' solo homer extends lead in fourth

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams returned to the starting lineup Saturday for the first time since coming off the disabled list on Tuesday.

Adams had 11 hits in his first 19 at-bats this season before he was forced to the sidelines with a strained right oblique muscle on April 24. He went 0-for-2 as a pinch-hitter earlier this week in Chicago. For the season, Adams is hitting .500 with three homers and eight RBIs.

The 24-year-old turned heads with his quick start, as the three homers and eight RBIs came in his first five games. Adams is anxious to prove that his strong April performance was no fluke.

"You never want to land on the disabled list, but it's something that happens and you move forward from that," he said. "I keep doing my exercises and make sure it doesn't come back."

Adams went 3-for-12 with two RBIs in a three-game rehab stint with the Cardinals' Double-A affiliate in Springfield, Mo.

"That got my timing back, and now I'm just ready to get back out there," he said. "Right now, I feel pretty good."

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said Adams has the ability to resume right where he left off at the plate.

"It's not that easy, but he can hit," Matheny said. "He was in a nice spot when he got hurt. He was swinging the bat well. It's a challenge for him, but I want to get him back in there as much as I can."

Miller, Cards' arms aim to improve...at the plate

COL@STL: Miller fans 13, retires final 27 batters

ST. LOUIS -- Rookie right-hander Shelby Miller found one minor flaw in his career-best performance on Friday night.

Miller turned in what he called, "my best game ever," by tossing a masterful one-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rockies. He struck out 13 and retired the final 27 batters he faced after giving up a leadoff single to Eric Young in the first inning.

Yet Miller was upset about his lack of production at the plate. He struck out in all four at-bats. Miller, who claims to be a better-than-average hitter, is 0-for-14 this season with 12 strikeouts.

"My hitting is not very good right now," he said.

Miller, who improved to 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA on Friday, knows there is only one way to break out of the slump.

"I'm going to stay in the cage and take 100 hacks," he said. "Right now, I'm going to work on my hitting the most -- probably all day."

Miller, an early candidate for National League Rookie of the Year, is serious. He and the other St. Louis starting pitchers take their bat work seriously.

After striking out in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday, Miller returned to the dugout and slammed his bat into the rack. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny took note of Miller's intensity.

"That wasn't a great move," Matheny said. "The only bad thing about his evening."

Still, Matheny understands Miller's frustration.

"He's an athlete," Matheny said. "All the starting pitchers think they should be batting third for us every night."

The multi-talented Miller is determined to find his stroke. He says he will spend all of his free time in the batting cage over the next few days. He hopes to flex his hitting muscles in his next start on Wednesday against the New York Mets.

Miller had two hits in three at-bats including a double in his first Major League start on Oct. 3 against Cincinnati.

He had two hits in 38 trips to the plate (.053) in four years in the Minors and is is 2-for-17 with a .118 average in the Majors.

Miller became the first NL pitcher to retire 27 successive batters after giving up a leadoff hit since Jim Bibby of Pittsburgh on May 19, 1981. Bibby surrendered his hit to Atlanta's Terry Harper, and then he retired the final 27 hitters on the way to a 5-0 win.

Worth noting

• Outfielder Carlos Beltran was held out of the starting lineup Saturday after hitting his team-high ninth home run in Friday's 3-0 win over Colorado. Beltran is batting .308 with 22 RBIs. Since April 15, he is hitting .345.

"It's a good day to [rest] him," Matheny said.

• The Cardinals' promotional department gave away pink Mike Matheny jerseys to fans on Saturday. Matheny said that his wife Kristin and daughter Katie will proudly wear the uniforms.

• Left-hander Jaime Garcia (4-1, 2.25) will start Sunday's series finale against Colorado. Garcia is 0-3 with an 11.85 career ERA against the Rockies.