ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Kevin Millwood rarely shows any emotion on the mound. After a key strikeout in the sixth inning, the Texas right-hander couldn’t contain himself.
Millwood shook off a bad first inning to pitch into the seventh and the Rangers cooled off the hot-hitting Cleveland Indians 9-4 Thursday night.
With the score tied at 4, Cleveland loaded the bases in the sixth. Millwood fired a 93-mph fastball past Shin-soo-Choo on a 3-2 pitch to escape trouble and preserve the tie.
Millwood (4-3) pumped his fist wildly and yelled something toward the Rangers dugout after the big pitch.
“The last out of the sixth was huge,” said Millwood, who allowed four runs and struck out six in six innings. “You definitely want to keep the game tied. … I don’t usually show much emotion. But in that situation, I couldn’t hold it in.”
Millwood may also have been fired up about helping keep Cleveland’s offense in check. The Indians roughed up Texas pitching for 35 runs and 48 hits in the first three games of the series, then scored four more in the first inning.
Texas starters only threw 10 innings over the past three games with no one making it past the fourth in that span. Millwood took the load off an overworked Rangers bullpen that had thrown 20 innings over the last four games.
“He was up to the challenge,” said Milton Bradley, who hit his 13th home run in the seventh. “He knew we needed a win, he knew the bullpen needed a break. We gave up four early but got out of it.”
Michael Young homered and extended his hitting streak to 21 games, Young’s infield RBI single in the sixth put the Rangers on top 5-4, and he homered in the eighth.
The Rangers shortstop had three hits to build on the major league’s best hitting streak of the season.
It was another tough outing for Cleveland ace C.C. Sabathia (3-8). He yielded five runs and nine hits while striking out eight over six innings. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner has lost three straight decisions and is winless since May 14.
“I can’t be frustrated about this,” Sabathia said. “I didn’t pitch that well. It’s more frustrating to me that the team is not winning games.”
The teams combined to score 65 runs in the first three games of the series. With winds gusting to more than 35 mph throughout the game, it appeared another high-scoring contest was possible.
Young said earlier in the week all a hitter has to do with the wind blowing out is “tap it and get it into the air” for a home run.
Five of the first six Cleveland batters of the game had hits. Victor Martinez had an RBI single, Jhonny Peralta hit an RBI double and David Dellucci doubled in two runs off the left-field wall to give the Indians a 4-0 lead.
“Kevin made some adjustments after the first inning,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “We weren’t able to generate anything after that.”
The Rangers erased a 4-0 deficit by scoring three in the second and another in the third.
Young led off the fourth with a double and Bradley tied the game at 4 with an RBI single.
Laird doubled off Sabathia in the sixth, and Shelton sacrificed him to third. Sabathia struck out Vazquez and walked Ian Kinsler.
Young hit a slow grounder to short and barely beat Peralta’s throw at first. The infield single scored Laird and gave the Rangers a 5-4 lead.
“They’re all locked in right now,” Texas manager Ron Washington said about his team’s offense. “They’re feeding off each other.”
Texas tacked on three runs in the seventh on Bradley’s fifth homer in five games. Vazquez, who had three RBIs, hit a two-run triple that stretched the advantage to 8-4.
Kinsler was 0-for-4 as his hitting streak ended at 19 games.
Texas RHP Vicente Padilla, who has been on the bereavement list since Monday, is scheduled to start Friday’s game against Tampa Bay. … DH Travis Hafner, on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder strain, won’t pick up a bat until the weekend, giving him a full week to rest and strengthen the shoulder.