"I just tried to stop thinking a little bit and just kind of get it going, I guess," Miley said. "Whatever [catcher Steve Clevenger] put down, he did a great job today sticking with me and I was finally able to establish something and get in a rhythm and go."
Miley, acquired from the Red Sox in December, is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA and a much-better frame of mind after erasing Sunday's rocky start. Handed a four-run lead, Miley gave most of it back after Albert Pujols hammered a two-run shot and Geovany Soto ripped an RBI double.
"I wasn't thinking 'Here we go again' by any means," he said. "I was just like, 'I've got to execute a pitch.' When you've got a guy with two strikes, you've got to make a better pitch than that. You can't throw a fastball down the middle and not expect a guy like Pujols to make you pay. I was more frustrated with myself for not executing. From that point on, I was just trying to get ahead, work down in the zone and they were hitting them at people."
Miley's final line of six hits and four runs in 7 1/3 innings won't overwhelm anyone, but he allowed just one run and three hits in the last 6 1/3 before giving way after 98 pitches. This was more of the pitcher the Mariners expected to see when they acquired him in the Carson Smith deal and manager Scott Servais credited Miley for turning his game around.
"It was huge," said Servais. "I think it speaks to the professional that he is. He doesn't quit, he's a gamer, he keeps going after you and he will figure it out. It hadn't been going good for him and after that first inning he could have put his head down and felt sorry for himself. But he didn't. He made an adjustment and kept us right in the game."
Miley started slow for the Red Sox last year as well, going 1-4 with a 6.91 ERA in his first six outings before finishing up at 10-7 with a 4.04 ERA over his last 26 starts. He worked this week with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. on staying back over the rubber longer to keep his pitches from elevating, but more than anything he seemed to benefit from finally just settling into a working rhythm.
"I think that's important for anybody, but me especially," said Miley, who is known for his quick pace. "Because I do work a little quick and I was actually able to slow myself down a little early on and kind of get underneath myself and be able to make pitches.
"Really after the first inning, I just made pitches and went from there. It feels good to not let them score more runs than we scored. That's my whole goal. I don't care as long as the end result is we win and I'm happy."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.