PITTSBURGH -- Entering Sunday's game, the Red Sox had lost four straight, and starting pitcher Andrew Miller hadn't won a Major League game since Sept. 3, 2010.
He was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket after Spring Training, but worked on his approach there and was called up June 19.
In his second start since joining the Red Sox, Miller took the win as the Red Sox defeated the Pirates, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.
"Everybody loves to make the team," manager Terry Francona said. "He's mature enough to know that he had some moving parts and some things to work on and clean up, and he went to Triple-A and did a great job. ... You know what? He's a pretty good pitcher. And he's big and tall and throws hard."
Miller threw six innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and lowered his ERA to 3.09.
"The more he pitches, the more comfortable he's going to be," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "You know, he hasn't been here long. So he's going to get more comfortable and start to realize what he can do. But he's been great so far."
Miller had to pitch out of several jams Sunday, including two helped along by errors.
In the third, Miller struck out the first two batters before Chase d'Arnaud hit a routine fly ball to left. Josh Reddick dropped it and d'Arnaud got to second. But the next batter, Andrew McCutchen, grounded out.
In the fourth, Neil Walker was hit by a pitch and advanced to third when shortstop Marco Scutaro misplayed a grounder. Walker scored on a sacrifice fly. Miller then got Eric Fryer to ground out to end the inning.
"We didn't make some plays behind him," Francona said. "We didn't finish some plays, and he had some poise and he had good stuff and he got us far enough."
In the fifth, Miller walked pitcher James McDonald to lead off the inning, and the next three Pirates singled to score McDonald. Though he loaded the bases with no outs, Miller allowed only the one run. Garrett Jones was thrown out after overrunning third base, then Miller struck out Walker and got Matt Diaz to fly out.
"He was under control," Saltalamacchia said. "He was definitely pumped up and wanted to get himself out of this and get the team out of this. For him to be able to slow down and pitch like he did was great."
Boston's two errors weren't nearly as damaging as the four errors committed by the Pirates. Only one of Boston's four runs was earned.
In the seventh, the Red Sox broke a 2-2 tie to take the lead for good. Marco Scutaro and pinch-hitter David Ortiz walked and Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error by pitcher Daniel Moskos to load the bases with no outs. Scutaro scored on a groundout by Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz scored on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Youkilis.
Ortiz nearly had a long home run before he walked; he hit a ball all the way out of PNC Park, but it was just barely outside the right-field foul pole.
"He's hit in all three games, so it's not like he's gone a week without playing," Francona said. "He got a 3-1 pitch and hit it just foul, then he lays off the breaking ball. That's a good at-bat."
Saltalamacchia led off the fourth with a double and scored on an error by McCutchen. Josh Reddick hit a fly ball to center, and Saltalamacchia tagged and went to third on the play. McCutchen attempted to throw out Saltalamacchia but overthrew the ball, which bounced off third baseman d'Arnaud's glove and into the seats. Saltalamacchia was awarded home plate on the dead ball.
In the sixth, Darnell McDonald grounded back to his cousin, James McDonald, who turned to throw out Kevin Youkilis at second and ended up throwing the ball into center field. Youkilis advanced to third on the error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Reddick.
"We didn't play well enough to win today and we've held ourselves to that standard each and every day we play," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "So when you don't play well enough to win and you make four errors, those things happen. You don't like it when they happen, but they happen."
Though they stranded 10 runners and only had one extra-base hit, the Red Sox returned to doing what they often do -- win.
Miller, on the other hand, was just staying consistent with what he did in Pawtucket.
"The routine that I put together down there, I'm keeping here," he said. "No reason to really change anything."
Laura Myers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.