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Wade Miley in better position for his rebound

Approach part of quick fix

Red Sox starter Wade Miley was efficient in his season-high seven-inning stint, allowing no walks and just one 3-and-0 count to the Yankees.Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports

Between his 8.62 ERA and his American League-fastest 17.2-second pace per pitch, Wade Miley had plenty ringing through the echo chamber.

He came into his fifth start of the season wanting to turn the volume down and bounce back from Sunday’s disaster against the Orioles by taking a breath.

“I just tried to go out and relax and just try to enjoy the game a little bit and try to keep us in the game,” Miley said.

He wasn’t going to saw his ERA in half in a day, but he wanted to eat innings and keep the Red Sox’ potent offense in striking distance.


Over a season-high seven innings in the Sox’ 4-2 loss to the Yankees, Miley made sure never to let the game get away from him.

When Jacoby Ellsbury led the game off by ripping a line drive to right field for a single, Miley circled the mound, took a deep breath, and proceeded to sit down Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira .

Miley (1-3) gave up three runs on seven hits.

He threw 62 of his 102 pitches for strikes, but walked none, and kept the fastballs coming.

One mistake pitch swung the game. With two outs and runners on second and third in the fifth inning, Gardner came to the plate, having already stroked an RBI double in the third.

Miley got ahead of Gardner, 1-and-2, but when he tried to get Gardner to chase a slider down and away, Gardner wouldn’t take the bait.

Miley decided to come back with a slider, but left it dangling out over the plate. Gardner sliced it the other way to left field for a two-run single and put the Yankees up, 3-1.

It was a pitch Miley wished he could’ve had back.

“If I could do it all over again, maybe stay hard in or keep the slider off the plate again,” he said.


But rather than let the inning snowball, he got Alex Rodriguez to bounce out to third. Then he came back out and sat the Yankees down in order the next two frames.

“Much improved,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “I think Wade, today, delivered what we anticipated and will anticipate going forward. I thought he did a much better job with keeping the pace that he works at a little bit more under control. He threw a number of breaking balls for strikes and a lot of strikes overall.”

Earlier in the week, Farrell met with the pitching staff to lay out a plan to be more aggressive.

Miley followed through on the instructions. He kept at-bats quick, with 13 of the 27 batters he faced seeing three pitches or fewer.

“I just wanted to be competitive,” Miley said. “Just go out there, be competitive. The pitcher needs to dictate what’s going on rather than the other way around. I think that was the goal.”

He only saw one 3-and-0 count all game, falling behind to Brian McCann to start the second inning. He got back into it by dotting his fastball, down and away, for a called strike then coming back, up and in, to get McCann to ground out to first.

He finished with three strikeouts and didn’t surrender a walk for the first time all season.

“It was a lot better,” Miley said. “Still got in some three-ball counts. But instead of trying to make too good of a pitch 3-1, 3-0, just execute a pitch and get a ground ball or get an out instead of walking a guy.


“We had a pretty aggressive game plan today. We just threw a lot of fastballs and we got some outs.”

He didn’t come away with a win to show for it, taking his first career loss to the Yankees in three starts, but he gave the Sox their third straight quality start.

“Obviously the last couple of outings haven’t been the best,” Miley said. “But I wanted to get deep in the game and give us a chance. I was able to get into the seventh. It’s something good to build off of for sure.”

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.