ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kevin Millwood has fulfilled his goal of getting off to a good start this season. Now the Texas Rangers' No. 1 starter finally has a victory to show for it.
Millwood allowed one run in seven innings and the Rangers beat Baltimore 3-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday, ending the Orioles' six-game winning streak.Coming off a complete-game 2-1 loss, after losing the season opener despite giving up only two unearned runs, Millwood (1-2) won his sixth straight start against the Orioles and lowered his ERA this season to 1.29."We need him to lead this pitching staff, and he's doing that," manager Ron Washington said."To have something to show for it is awfully nice," Millwood said.The Rangers scored only one run for Millwood in each of his first two starts, both on the road. They were tied 1-1 against the Orioles after Millwood had thrown the last of his 111 pitches but scored twice in the seventh on Michael Young's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton.Baltimore (6-2), which had matched its longest winning streak of last season, entered the game with the AL's best record.The Orioles had only three hits against Millwood, including an RBI single by Ramon Hernandez. Millwood struck out two and overcame five walks, one short of his career high."I wasn't throwing where I wanted to. Hopefully, it was just one of those days ... My curveball stunk, and that is usually my out pitch," Millwood said. "But I felt like I was able to make a few pitches when I needed to."Ian Kinsler started the go-ahead rally for Texas with a one-out single off Steve Trachsel (1-1). Kinsler then stole second and scored on Young's single. Young also stole second and went to third on catcher Hernandez's throw into center field before Hamilton's sacrifice fly -- the second time he drove in Young."Those are the type of innings we want to produce, especially when we're not scoring runs," Washington said. "We're trying to be smart."C.J. Wilson worked a perfect ninth for his second save of the season. Joaquin Benoit struck out three of the four batters he faced in the eighth after taking over for Millwood.Texas got an unearned run in the first when Young reached on an error when his flyball to right field was misplayed by Nick Markakis and scored on Hamilton's double. Five of Hamilton's nine hits this season are for extra bases.Aubrey Huff drew a leadoff walk in the second inning, stole second and came home on the single by Hernandez.Millwood faced the minimum three hitters only twice in his seven innings, and one of those times was when Luke Scott was caught stealing after drawing a walk. Millwood got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the third when Huff lined out and Scott took a called third strike.Trachsel gave up three runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings, leaving after Young's single. The 37-year-old right-hander struck out two and walked four."Both starting pitchers were on their game. Trachsel made some great pitches. Millwood is a crafty veteran, and he had good movement," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "With due respect, I thought both pitchers benefited from the time the game started. The batters were having a hard time seeing the ball."
Millwood hasn't lost to Baltimore since May 2006. He has allowed eight earned runs over 44 innings (1.64 ERA) in his winning streak over the Orioles. ... The doubleheader started under sunny, clear skies. While the wind was near 20 mph and gusting, there were no other indications of the severe storms that moved through the area and forced the postponement of Wednesday night's game. ... Despite the bright sun, the infield was in the shadows and there was a seven-minute delay before the start of the eighth inning while waiting for the lights to come on. ... Hernandez, who entered the game in a 3-for-23 slump, was robbed of a second straight hit leading off the fourth when right fielder David Murphy made a running shoestring catch on the sinking liner.