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Miller improves on slider, picks up first win

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BALTIMORE -- Justin Miller will always remember his first Major League win Tuesday night for the Miguel Cabrera heroics that set it up. He'd also like to remember it as the day he got his slider back, if he can keep it up.

Miller got the call from manager Brad Ausmus with a 1-0 deficit and held it there through the seventh and eighth innings, allowing one hit, ahead of Cabrera's go-ahead home run in the ninth. Just as important, his pitches were nastier, from a harder fastball to a sharper slider he'd been struggling mightily to throw for quality strikes.

"I thought his slider was tighter," Ausmus said. "He's been working on that. I think that was his best outing, clearly his best outing since he's been here."

The slider was a huge pitch for Miller before Tommy John surgery two years back. After some tinkering and some tips from teammates, he hopes he has found it.

"I've been working with Joe [Nathan] the last four or five days, talking with Joba [Chamberlain] too," he said, "just talking about their grips and their mindset and how they go about throwing it."

The adjustment put some extra velocity on his slider, averaging 83-84 mph according to brooksbaseball.net. It had been averaging 81.3 mph this season, according to Fangraphs.

"It had better break to it, and I got better swings on it," Miller said. "It was awesome."

Miller had given up runs in each of his previous three outings. He hadn't gone scoreless in one since April 23.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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