Millwood: 7 scoreless in O’s win over Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Kevin Millwood(notes) has done some special things during his 14-year big league career. He won an ERA title, pitched a no-hitter and reached All-Star status. On Saturday night, in the final weeks of his worst season, he came up with a gem worthy of his reputation.
Millwood scattered six hits over eight gritty innings, leading Baltimore to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. He struck out five, walked one, and escaped jams in the fifth and seventh innings after the Angels put runners at the corners with one out both times.
“I go out there every five days and give it everything I’ve got, and whatever happens,” Millwood said. “Obviously it hasn’t been a great year, but at the same time, I don’t think there’s anybody who’s put more effort into it.”
Orioles No. 9 hitter Josh Bell(notes) hit a two-run homer, helping Millwood (3-14) win for the first time since posting back-to-back interleague victories over San Diego and Florida on June 19 and June 24.
The right-hander, who spent his previous four seasons with the Texas Rangers, beat an AL team for the first time since pitching a complete-game 11-3 victory at Angel Stadium on Oct. 1, his final start of 2009.
“Every year you pretty much go through a stretch where you struggle. Obviously this year was a little longer than normal,” Millwood said. “But one big thing for me since I signed my first pro contract is that I’ve never doubted myself.”
Jim Johnson(notes) pitched a scoreless ninth, allowing one hit in his first appearance since April 30. He had been sidelined because of inflammation in his right elbow, and was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Friday. Millwood could have finished, but it was important for manager Buck Showalter to get Johnson back on the mound in a non-stressful situation.
“I know Kevin probably as well as anybody here, and I feel so good for him because I know how much he cares,” Showalter said. “I think he could have finished that game. I mean, 110 pitches doesn’t come into play on a cool night. But it was a perfect spot for J.J. to get broken in a little bit, and I appreciate the professionalism of Kevin after I explained to him what we were trying to do.”
The Halos were shut out for the seventh time this season and fourth time in 14 games.
A victory on Sunday would give Baltimore a sweep of the season series, the first for either club in the 50 years since they began playing each other. The Orioles swept the Angels at Camden Yards in Showalter’s first three games after taking over as manager on Aug. 3.
The Orioles, whose 47-83 record is the second-worst in the majors, are 15-11 this month with two games remaining. It will be their first winning record in August since 1997, when they were 18-10. The last time Baltimore had a winning record in any month was June 2008 (15-12).
“It’s kind of like the economy. You like anything that shows that things might have a chance to get better,” Showalter said.
“I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to quit. That’s not in my DNA,” Kazmir said. “It’s just frustrating because I really felt like I threw the ball well.”
Kazmir matched zeros with Millwood until the fifth. Bell, who hit his first two big league home runs a week ago against Cliff Lee(notes), drove Kazmir’s 0-2 pitch over the 18-foot wall in right-center after Cesar Izturis(notes) beat out an infield single up the middle.
The Angels mounted a threat in the fifth after a walk and a hit-and-run single by Torii Hunter(notes), but shortstop Izturis fielded speedy rookie Peter Bourjos’(notes) hard grounder up the middle and stepped on the bag before completing the double play.
Kazmir fielded the ball, then had to sprint to first base when he saw that Napoli, a converted first baseman, was nowhere near the bag. Fox slid safely as Kazmir toppled over him, and Wigginton easily beat the one-hop throw to the plate that Kazmir made from the seat of his pants.
“It was definitely the luckiest RBI I’ve gotten this year,” said Fox, who has only 19 in a combined 162 at-bats with the Orioles and Oakland A’s. “I gave Wiggy a hug for scoring on that play.”
NOTES: Kobe Bryant, wearing a Torii Hunter jersey, attended the game with his wife and daughters Natalia and Gianna. Natalia threw a ceremonial first pitch to Jered Weaver(notes). … Millwood made 34 starts for Showalter in 2006 with the Texas Rangers and finished with a career-high 16 victories in their only other season together. … Millwood used 10 pitches to retire the side in order in the first inning—something he didn’t do in any of his previous 16 starts, after pitching a 1-2-3 first in eight of his first nine outings this season. He has allowed a major league-worst 38 first-inning runs this season.