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07/07/09 2:00 AM ET
Millwood knocked around by Angels
Rangers ace allows season-high nine runs in battle for first
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Kevin Millwood was snubbed on Sunday by those who decide who should be on the American League All-Star team. On Monday night, Millwood had the opportunity to offer a rebuttal argument. This, however, was far from the statement that Millwood probably wanted to make. Instead Millwood turned in by far his worst outing of the season. It's not often that a pitching coach has to make not one but two trips to the mound in attempt to get Millwood back on track. But Mike Maddux had no solutions, and the Rangers lost to the Angels, 9-4, on a Monday night, snapping their five-game winning streak and dropping them to one game out of first place in the American League West. "It was a little disappointing not making the All-Star team ... but the only thing I was thinking about tonight was trying to win a ballgame, and it obviously didn't work out," Millwood said after losing for only the second time in his last eight starts. Josh Hamilton, activated off the disabled list before the game, had two hits, including a single in the first that helped the Rangers take a 2-0 lead, and Ian Kinsler, snapping an 0-for-24 slump, hit a two-run home run in the seventh. Together, that's often more than enough offense for Millwood, who had allowed less than four runs in 12 of his first 17 starts. But not under a full moon at Angel Stadium. "You've got to give them credit; they swung the bats well," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. "The middle of their lineup did a great job. It's just one of those times where you chalk it up to being one of those nights. When Millwood is on the mound, we feel we have a good shot of winning, but it just didn't happen." Millwood lasted just five innings -- his shortest outing of the season -- and allowed nine runs on nine hits and three walks. He did not strike out a batter for the first time this season. It's only the second time in 18 starts that he didn't pitch at least six innings, and it matches the most runs he's ever given up in a game. "I didn't hit my spots," Millwood said. "When I tried to go away, I went middle away. When I tried to go inside, I didn't get it in far enough, and they hit my mistakes." He allowed nine runs in 1 1/3 innings to the Twins on May 9, 2006, and nine to the Blue Jays in four innings on June 7, 2000, while with the Atlanta Braves. Millwood is now 8-6 with a 3.34 ERA, the highest that mark has been all season. That wasn't the only statistic that blew up. Millwood entered the game having held opponents to a .189 batting average with runners in scoring position. But the Angels were 6-for-8 in those situations off him. "When you look at their lineup, one through six, that's as good as it gets," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Sometimes you get through it and sometimes you don't. Seven, eight and nine aren't easy either. That's a tough lineup to make it through, and we didn't get it done." The Rangers had beaten the Angels twice this season with Millwood on the mound, but opposing manager Mike Scioscia said, "Kevin cooperated a little bit tonight by not having his best stuff." The biggest blow of the night was a two-out, three-run home run by Jeff Mathis in the second inning. Millwood, sitting on a 2-0 lead, got ahead 1-and-2 in the count by mixing regular and sinking fastballs. He threw two more that missed, running the count full. He then threw a sinker that didn't sink, and Mathis hit it over the center-field fence for just his third home run of the season. "He got me a couple of times in Texas," Mathis said. "Maybe he was trying to put it away, but he got it up. I was looking for something a little different and managed to get good wood on it." Millwood's other big sin was walking three batters. He walked Kendry Morales in the second inning to help set up Mathis' home run, but the real crippler was walking Chone Figgins twice to start innings. Figgins walked in the third to start a two-run rally and did so in the fifth to start a three-run inning that gave the Angels a 9-2 lead. "I walked three guys," Millwood said. "It goes back to location. You've got to make them hit their way on. It was a bad night. There's not much else I can say."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.