Teammates can't pick up Millwood
Righty gives up three homers; Hamilton, Davis go deep
TORONTO -- The Rangers and the Blue Jays entered Thursday's game at Rogers Centre as two of the top three home-run-hitting teams in the American League.
Such examples of power were certainly on display in the contest, only it did not work in the Rangers' favor as they dropped a 5-2 affair to the Jays. With the loss, Texas (6-9) has now dropped nine of its past 12 games.
Rangers starter Kevin Millwood allowed three home runs to Toronto's hitters and suffered the loss in what can be considered his worst outing of the season.
"The long ball got him tonight," described Texas manager Ron Washington following the game.
Millwood (1-2) surrendered a solo home run to Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells in the second inning to open the game's scoring. Later in the same inning, Lyle Overbay added a solo shot of his own, sending a Millwood offering over the center-field wall and pushing Toronto's lead to 2-0.
Toronto's third long ball came off the bat of outfielder Alex Rios, who launched a 1-0 pitch from Millwood over the left-field wall in the fifth inning for a two-run job that gave the Jays a 4-2 lead, which they would not relinquish.
Millwood allowed four runs on five hits across seven innings. The four runs represented the most he has allowed in a start this season. All things considered though, when you yield four runs in a start and that's your worst of the season, things are going pretty well for you.
Nevertheless, the problem for Texas has been that the club hasn't been able to take advantage of the pitcher's strong start this year. The Rangers are 1-3 in Millwood's outings, which is troubling, especially considering that his 1.17 ERA entering Thursday's start was third best among American League starters.
"I feel like I'm giving us a chance," said Millwood. "Tonight is probably the worst I've pitched out of the four, but I still felt like I gave us a chance. It's just not working out when I pitch right now.
"But I feel like if I keep throwing the way I'm throwing, we're going to win a lot of those games."
Rangers third baseman Michael Young believes that the offense has to do a better job of providing support for the ace of its staff.
"He's pitching well," Young said of Millwood. "Like he usually does, he goes out there and competes and battles and we've got to find a way to pick him up and take advantage of the times he's out there."
The only offense the Rangers could muster against the Jays (12-5) and their starter, Scott Richmond, came in the form of what else -- home runs. Albeit, no one was on base during the Texas solo shots.
Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton homered in the fourth inning, for his second of the season, with the first coming against Detroit on April 12. Texas first baseman Chris Davis also got in on the action with a home run in the sixth.
The two hitters have struggled all season -- Davis entered the day hitting just .191, while Hamilton was batting .226 -- so the production was welcomed by Washington.
"It's always a positive sign when we put runs on the board," said the manager. "It's especially positive with Chris and Josh."
"I hope that's something that can help us as we go into Baltimore [in the upcoming series], but we have to string some things together."
The Rangers struck out 13 times against Jays pitchers in Thursday's game alone. Catcher Taylor Teagarden led the way with four, earning the dubious distinction of what is known in baseball as a golden sombrero.
Texas had its best opportunity to score when it loaded the bases against Richmond (2-0) with two outs in the fourth inning. However, the Toronto right-hander managed to strike out Teagarden to end the threat.
The Rangers had never before faced the rookie Jays starter, but Young was not using that as an excuse.
"I don't think that works in anybody's advantage," said Young of facing an unfamiliar pitcher. "It's about executing and he did. We didn't make any adjustments."
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.