Guthrie, Millar carry Orioles past Rangers 9-1

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Now that Jeremy Guthrie finally has a winning record, Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he believes the right-hander deserves to be considered one of the best starters in the American League.

Guthrie allowed one run in seven innings to win his third straight start, Kevin Millar homered twice and the Baltimore Orioles cruised past the Texas Rangers, 9-1 Friday night.

Guthrie (9-8) gave up five hits, walked one and had four strikeouts— including All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton twice. Over his last three starts, Guthrie is 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA.

He lost his first three decisions and was 3-7 on June 12, but now Guthrie ranks among the league leaders in starts (25), innings (163) and ERA (3.26).

“I think he’s in a position now where his due is coming,” Trembley said. “The guy’s getting recognized as a legitimate, top-of-the-rotation guy for any team in the big leagues. I’m glad a lot of other people are starting to recognize what he’s all about. We’re very, very fortunate to have him.”

Guthrie insisted that finally eclipsing the .500 mark is really no big deal.

“I don’t feel any different with my record today than I did a month ago,” he said. “I really feel that, for the most part, when I’ve been on the mound our team has been in the game. That’s the most important part.”

Guthrie’s bid for a second straight complete game was thwarted by a high pitch count (115). Jamie Walker worked a perfect eighth and Jim Johnson gave up a hit in the ninth.

Brian Roberts, Juan Castro and Ramon Hernandez each had two RBIs for the Orioles, who have won seven of 11. Aubrey Huff went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, one short of his career high.

Millar hit a two-run homer in the third inning and a solo shot in the fifth. It was his third multihomer game of the season, and his 18 home runs is one more than he had all last year.

But afterward, Millar felt compelled to talk about Guthrie.

“Jeremy Guthrie set the tone. He set down a very good offensive club tonight,” he said.

Travis Metcalf homered for the Rangers, who have lost three straight. Texas came to town early Friday morning following a grueling four-game series at home against the New York Yankees.

“We looked tired,” manager Ron Washington said. “I’m not making no excuses because that guy over there threw pretty good. … That’s the first time we had it handed to us in a while.”

The Rangers, who have scored only two runs in their last 25 innings, were without injured starters Milton Bradley (left quad) and David Murphy (knee).

“That changes everything,” said Marlon Byrd, who had two hits. “Those two guys put fear into a pitching staff. But we have to go with what we have.”

Texas starter Luis Mendoza (3-5) gave up five runs and six hits in three innings. The right-hander has allowed 21 runs n 16 1-3 innings in his five road starts this season.

“You can’t always rely on offense. You have to pitch to stay in close games sometimes,” Washington said.

Baltimore went up 3-0 in the second. After Castro hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, Roberts drove in two runs with his major league-leading 41st double.

Millar made it 5-0 in the third, hitting a drive to left after Huff got a leadoff single.

Metcalf’s first home run of the season, in the fifth, ended the Rangers’ run of 16 straight scoreless innings.

Millar answered in the bottom half with a leadoff homer off Dustin Nippert, and Castro added an RBI single for a 7-1 lead. Hernandez hit run-scoring singles in the sixth and eighth.

Notes

Washington rested leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, who’s batting .202 since the All-Star break. “The last thing we him to do is get frustrated,” Washington said. … The last time Millar hit as many as 18 homers in a season was in 2004, with the world champion Boston Red Sox.

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