Clean-shaven Miley clips Indians with rebound

Mariners lefty goes seven scoreless after three straight rough starts

Clean-shaven Miley clips Indians with rebound

SEATTLE -- Wade Miley lost the beard, but won the game, and the Mariners lefty considers that a solid tradeoff.

The 29-year-old Louisiana native shaved his considerable facial hair earlier this week, then trimmed the Indians with seven shutout innings, while allowing just four hits in Seattle's 7-1 victory on Tuesday night at Safeco Field.

"I guess I have to keep it like this," Miley said, "but I don't think that was the issue."

For Miley, it was a needed bounceback game. He retired the last nine batters he faced, finishing his 101-pitch outing with a 7-0 lead and a 180-degree turnaround from his previous start when he'd been bashed for 12 hits and nine runs in 4 2/3 innings by the Padres.

His teammates got him off the hook in that start by rallying from 10 runs down to win, 16-13, which only served to obscure a tough recent stretch in which Miley had allowed 26 hits and 18 runs over 14 2/3 innings in his last three outings.

"The last few starts I got out of whack," Miley said. "I really wasn't sure what was going on. I had no command, just kind of flipping things up there. But we saw some things on video and made some adjustments and it just worked out."

The Mariners welcomed the turnabout as they snapped a four-game losing streak and hope to have things back on track now after successive strong starts by Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and now Miley, following a rough run on the road last week.

"It was a little different look to Wade tonight," manager Scott Servais said. "He shaved up the beard and got a haircut. He is one of those guys who is very superstitious. He figured he'd go for a different look and it was a much different result and one he really needed. And we needed as well."

Miley said it was just time for a fresh face as he got out the clippers for the first time in about a year.

"I was just tired of it," he said. "My wife was getting on me. Every year at some point I do this, whether it's because I'm struggling or I just get tired of it and then I let it grow back. We'll see what happens."

It's not all about the beard, of course. Miley has been extremely sharp at times this season. He threw his first career shutout against the Royals in late April and held the Orioles scoreless on two hits for six frames three weeks ago at Camden Yards.

Add Tuesday's gem in the plus column, though he's the first to credit his teammates for making it easy. He's benefited from excellent run support all year, which accounts for his 6-2 record with a 5.27 ERA. And he said his fellow starters set the tone in the previous two nights.

"They set the tempo, getting us back going," he said. "Obviously we had a run you don't see very often, where five or six guys in a row just struggled like we did. But Kuma at Texas got the tempo going even though we didn't win and last night Paxton came in blowing 101 [mph] and it kind of fires you up a little. You just try to keep the train rolling."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for 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.