Veteran Millwood tosses first shutout since ’03
DENVER – Kevin Millwood tossed a two-hitter for his first shutout in nearly nine years and Mike Carp hit a solo homer, helping the Seattle Mariners snap a four-game skid with a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
It was also the 22nd complete game of the 37-year-old right-hander’s career.
“I felt like my stuff was good,” Millwood said. “I felt like if I could keep my location where it was tonight, I felt like I had a chance to give us a chance.”
Millwood (2-4) didn’t surrender his first hit until two outs in the sixth to Marco Scutaro.
He struck out seven and walked one. He didn’t allow a runner to reach third until the ninth inning, but got Carlos Gonzalez to line out to end the game.
“He was banging the corners and he had late movement. He was mixing his pitches,” Scutaro said.
The Mariners improved to 2-6 on their 10-game, four-city road swing.
Carp hit his third homer of the season in the second, a towering shot to the deepest part of the park.
Kyle Seager had an RBI single and drove in another on a sacrifice fly. John Jaso added an insurance run the ninth by bringing in Seager on a sacrifice fly.
Colorado’s Alex White (0-3) was the hard-luck loser, dropping his sixth consecutive start in a dubious string that dates back to Sept. 16.
After struggling early, White settled into a groove. White gave up three runs – two earned – and seven hits in seven solid innings.
“We got a very competitive effort from Alex White; unfortunately the Mariners got a tremendous effort from Kevin Millwood,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
After bouncing around, Millwood may have finally found a home with the Mariners after throwing his sixth career shutout and first since August 2003.
The journeyman pitcher shuffled around the minor leagues with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for much of last season.
He joined the Rockies rotation in August in an emergency situation, when Juan Nicasio was lost for the year after taking a line drive to the right temple and suffering a fractured skull along with a neck injury.
Millwood once again had to prove himself this season, signing a minor league contract with Seattle.
He started winless in his first six games this season, before beating the Yankees on Sunday.
Among all active pitchers, Millwood ranks fourth in innings pitched (2,609), strikeouts (2,011) and games started (423).
He’s also eighth in wins (165).
He flirted with a no-hitter, giving up his only two hits in the sixth inning.
The first was on Scutaro’s chopper that Seager couldn’t snare in the hole between third and short. The official scorer took a good, long look at the play before ruling it a hit.
“Yeah, but make that play and it ends the inning,” Seager said, shaking his head. “You’re in the next inning and you never know. That’s a play I’d like to make.
“If that was the only hit he gave up, I would’ve hoped for anything they would’ve given me an error there.”
Millwood lauded Seager’s lunge.
“Tough play,” he said. “Nothing he could do. He gave it a good effort. That’s all you can hope for.
“It would’ve been great if he made the play and could’ve had fun for a little longer. But he made all the effort he could.”
Jordan Pacheco followed with a single up the middle, but Scutaro was thrown out by Michael Saunders as he tried to advance to third.
“He was making his pitches. It wasn’t like we were hitting a bunch of hard balls,” Scutaro said of Millwood.
Millwood has one no-hitter as he bottled up the San Francisco Giants in a 1-0 win on April 27, 2003, when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies.
A nifty slide by Ichiro Suzuki in the sixth staked the Mariners to a 3-0 lead, which was more than enough for Millwood.
The speedy Ichiro got a good jump as he tagged on Seager’s shallow fly. Although Gonzalez’s throw was on target – and arrived about the same time – Ichiro managed to avoid Wilin Rosario’s tag before slapping his hand on the plate.
The Mariners scratched out a run in the first when Saunders laced a triple into the right-center gap and was brought in when Seager blooped a single to center.
Seager actually knows White quite well, since both were teammates at North Carolina (2007-09).
So was Mariners infielder Dustin Ackley, and the trio helped the Tar Heels to a 159-48 record during their stint at the school and three trips to the College World Series. “His slider is as good as ever,” Seager said of White.