Millwood outduels Benson, pitches Rangers past O's

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Texas Rangers aren't all about hitting anymore. These guys can also pitch, as evidenced by their first two games after the All-Star break.

Kevin Millwood and three relievers combined on a six-hitter Friday night and the Rangers capitalized on one shaky inning by Kris Benson to slip past the Baltimore Orioles 2-1.

It was the second straight game Texas limited Baltimore to just one run.

"The last two games, we have to give them credit. Their pitching has been tremendous," said Baltimore designated hitter Javy Lopez, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

After scoring 15 runs one night earlier, the Rangers got their only runs on fourth-inning sacrifice flies by Michael Young and Mark Teixeira. That, however, was enough to provide Texas with its third straight victory.

"We scored a lot of runs yesterday, and today we scored just enough," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "There was little margin for error."

Baltimore got its lone run on a sacrifice fly by Melvin Mora.

Millwood (9-5) allowed one run and four hits in six innings to earn his first win in four starts since June 16. Pitching for the first time since July 2, when he left a game against Houston with arm tightness, the right-hander was lifted after 78 pitches.

"I was tired," Millwood said. "The extra time off, I missed my last start, and then having the All-Star break is definitely good for your strength but not good for your stamina."

Former Oriole Rick Bauer worked a perfect seventh, Francisco Cordero gave up two singles in the eighth and Akinori Otsuka closed it for his 18th save.

"To get those three shutout innings from our bullpen and have [Otsuka] finish the relay race -- the baton pass -- it's impressive," Showalter said.

The Rangers have allowed four runs or fewer in eight straight games, the longest current run in the majors. They are 6-2 in that span.

"Tonight, for sure, they pitched pretty well against us," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

Benson (9-8) gave up four hits in his second complete game of the season. The right-hander has lost three straight starts, but he probably deserved a better fate in this one.

The Rangers managed only one extra-base hit, stranded three runners and went down in order four times. On Thursday, they had 19 hits, including six homers, three by Teixeira.

"They've got a good lineup," Benson said. "I'm just glad to start off the second half on a good note. Even though I didn't get the win, I gave us a chance."

After failing to get a hit in the first three innings, Texas took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Gary Matthews Jr. led off with an infield hit off Mora's glove at third and took third on Mark DeRosa's double just inside the third-base line.

Young and Teixeira followed with run-scoring fly balls.

"Probably a total of four feet beat me tonight," Benson said. "One hit off his glove and the next one just made it over the line a couple feet from him. I couldn't really do much about it."

The Orioles got only one runner past first base before closing to 2-1 in the sixth. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts singled, and a two-strike sacrifice bunt by Brandon Fahey put runners on second and third. Mora hit a sacrifice fly and Miguel Tejada walked, but Millwood avoided further damage by retiring Ramon Hernandez on a fly ball.

Roberts singled off Cordero with one out in the eighth and was caught stealing before Fahey singled. Mora then hit into a fielder's choice.

Game notes
The Orioles optioned right-hander Daniel Cabrera and right-hander Sendy Rleal
to Triple-A Ottawa and recalled left-hander Adam Loewen and right-hander Eddy Rodriguez from the same club. ... DeRosa's double was the 216th by Texas, tops in the majors. ... Tejada grounded into his major league-leading 23rd double play in the fourth inning. ... Roberts' sixth-inning single snapped a 1-for-25 skid.