Kevin Millwood throws 7 shutout innings for 10th win, Rangers beat Orioles 3-0
“It was a clean game,” manager Ron Washington said with a smile.
After going 0-2 his previous four starts in September, Millwood (10-13) scattered seven hits, struck out five, walked none and was helped by two inning-ending double plays. He struck out the last three batters he faced to end the seventh, and threw 72 of 104 pitches for strikes.
“I’ve been working on stuff all year and felt like I’ve been improving,” Millwood said. “Today was kind of the ends to the means, I guess, to be able to go out and put everything I’m working on to use and come out on a good note.”
Facing Baltimore was a perfect remedy for Millwood, who has won all five of his starts with a 1.70 ERA against the Orioles in his two seasons for Texas.
“He was hitting his spots. He’s not 96 (mph) like he used to be, but he was effective in a way I haven’t seen him be the last few years,” Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff said.
The Orioles were shut out for the fourth time this season—all in September.
Rangers All-Star shortstop Michael Young was 1-for-4, giving him 195 hits— leaving him with six games to reach 200 hits for the fifth straight season. The only other players to do that since 1940 were Wade Boggs and Ichiro Suzuki, who both did it seven straight years, including this season for Suzuki.
Jon Leicester (2-3) threw his first complete game in his fifth major league start. Leicester allowed seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks, though he did hit two batters.
“I think he’ll be a candidate coming in to camp to start for us,” manager Dave Trembley said.
Kevin Millar went 3-for-4 in Baltimore’s final road game after going 5-for-31 the previous nine games on the trip.
Benoit allowed two runners but pitched a scoreless eighth. Wilson, the left-hander who has juggled the closing spot with Benoit since Eric Gagne was traded, took over in the ninth and got his 12 save in 14 chances.
“We went with the two guys at the end of the game we wanted to have in there, and they did their job,” said Washington, though he’s said he’d rather not have either in the closer role next season.
Some shaky defense put Millwood in a first-inning jam. After Tike Redman’s leadoff infield hit, second baseman Kinsler bobbled a grounder by Luis Hernandez, who beat out a lazy flip throw to first. Nick Markakis then hit a potential double-play grounder, but Kinsler’s relay throw to first was wide before Miguel Tejada grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The only other time the Orioles got a runner to third against Millwood was in the fifth, before Hernandez grounded into an ending-inning double play.
“I was able to keep them off balance,” Millwood said. “And guys caught the ball.”
The Orioles were 34-47 on the road. Their last seven games are at home: a makeup against Kansas City on Monday before three-game series against Toronto and the New York Yankees. … Millwood has made 130 starts since his last shutout Aug. 1, 2003, the last of his NL-high three shutouts for Philadelphia that season. … Texas is the only AL team without a complete game.