ST. LOUIS -- When Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki struck out for the third and final time against sizzling St. Louis rookie right-hander Shelby Miller on Friday night, the radar gun read 96 mph. In other words, Miller was every bit as powerful then as he was when he fanned Tulowitzki in the first inning.
Miller gave up an Eric Young single to open the game, then retired the next 27 hitters. His domination included 13 strikeouts, three of Tulowitzki, who said he knew from his first at-bat that Miller was going to be special.
"You never want to put yourself in the hands of a pitcher like that, saying we might not get a hit," Tulowitzki said. "You're looking at that next pitch or that next at-bat as, 'This is the time I'm going to get him.' You keep on telling yourself that. But you do know you've got your hands full here. He's got his best stuff and command, and it's going to be tough. You've got to put one of your best swings on one of his better pitches.
"You can just tell when a guy's got it. I knew from my first at-bat, 'Hey, this is something different.' I was walking back to the dugout after my first at-bat saying, 'He's got a little extra life on his fastball that you don't quite see that often.'"
Miller has thrown very well this season. Friday dropped his ERA to 1.58 in seven starts. But watching the previous starts on video and facing him were different experiences.
"Film never does justice," Tulowitzki said. "You can see a number -- 94 or 95. We've faced that many times, but the swings that this guy was getting last night, the ball was doing something different. He had that extra late life. He might not have that all the time. He threw one of his best games."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.