Before his name was even announced over the speakers at Camden Yards, the announced crowd of 39,487 stood and gave Orioles reliever Andrew Miller a rousing ovation as he jogged from the bullpen to the mound Friday night.
“Pretty cool reception,” said Miller, the newest member of the Orioles’ bullpen. “I don’t think I ever dreamed of having anything like that. I don’t necessarily expect it again. But it was pretty neat.
“At the same time, I kind of had to step down and cool off. I had a job to do. But it was pretty neat. I’ll remember that, for sure.”
Miller made his first appearance in an Orioles uniform Friday night, relieving left-hander Wei-Yin Chen after 7 1/3 strong innings. He needed 14 pitches to record two outs and escape the eighth inning in what became a 2-1 Orioles victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Miller, now the 19th pitcher to appear in a game for the Orioles this season, inherited one runner — center fielder Austin Jackson, on first base — when he entered the game. Mariners left fielder Dustin Ackley grounded into a forceout at second but beat the throw to first.
With second baseman Robinson Cano up to bat, Ackley stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph. Miller then walked Cano but forced first baseman Kendrys Morales into a grounder and got Cano out at second.
Miller said afterward that he was happy manager Buck Showalter trusted him to enter such a tight game in his debut, and that he was glad to get his first appearance over with.
“I think we all want to pitch in big situations and help us win,” said Miller, whom the Orioles acquired Thursday from the Boston Red Sox in a trade for pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. “I certainly made it a little scary there, putting a guy on third. But at the end of the day, I got it done. That’s what matters.
“I’m a middle reliever. I’m looking forward to settling in and nobody paying attention to me again. I feel like I had too much of the spotlight on me today, but I guess that comes with the territory.”
Showalter said Miller’s first outing as an Oriole was good, and that it helped Miller to have been to Camden Yards before. The manager added that the left-hander's familiarity with the American League East would help him adjust quickly to home games.
“You have some concern when you bring somebody in that hasn’t been in that atmosphere,” Showalter said. “It’s not necessarily that we have more than somewhere else. It’s just that he’s used to the ballpark. He’s used to when we go into some other American League East cities.
“But I think that’s the thing you like about the trade, too. There’s not that period where he has to adjust to a lot of that.”
Showalter added that the crowd’s cheering of Miller was cool to see, regardless of whether it was for him or Chen, or both.
“I can’t tell you what it means to us to come off the grind we had on the West Coast, and to know that there’s a safe haven where you have friendly faces and people that are pulling for you,” he said, “especially those who are coming out here to support us. It means that you’re doing something that’s very important to them.”