Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rangers Take Two from O's

ARLINGTON, Texas - Ian Kinsler hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning and the Texas Rangers beat the Orioles 5-4 Thursday night to complete a doubleheader sweep.

The Orioles (6-3) began the day with the American League's best record and a six-game winning streak, already matching its longest of last season.

Kinsler's hit was a hard shot that shortstop Luis Hernandez couldn't backhand, and the third consecutive one-out single against Chad Bradford (0-1). That scored Ben Broussard, who had moved up to third on Adam Melhuse's hit

Jamey Wright (1-0) worked 2 1-3 innings in relief of starter Kason Gabbard, and C.J. Wilson worked another perfect ninth for his second save of the day and third of the season.

Michael Young, who scored twice in the 3-1 opener, hit a solo home run in the first inning of the nightcap. Milton Bradley had a two-run double and David Murphy an RBI single in the third off Adam Loewen for a 4-1 lead.

But the Orioles overcome that deficit on Jay Payton's two-out, two-run homer in the sixth that chased Gabbard, and an RBI groundout by Kevin Millar that tied it in the eighth.

In the opener, Kevin Millwood (1-2) allowed only one run in seven innings to lower his ERA to 1.29 and finally get a victory to show for his solid pitching this season.

Coming off a complete-game 2-1 loss, after losing the season opener despite giving up only two unearned runs, Millwood won his sixth straight start against the Orioles.

"We need him to lead this pitching staff, and he's doing that," manager Ron Washington said.

"To have something to show for it is awfully nice," Millwood said.

The Rangers scored only one run for Millwood in each of his first two starts, both on the road. It was 1-1 against the Orioles after Millwood had thrown the last of his 111 pitches, but Texas scored twice in the seventh on Young's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton.

The Orioles had only three hits against Millwood, including an RBI single by Ramon Hernandez. Millwood struck out two and overcame five walks, one short of his career high.

"I wasn't throwing where I wanted to. Hopefully, it was just one of those days. ... My curveball stunk, and that is usually my out pitch," Millwood said. "But I felt like I was able to make a few pitches when I needed to."

Kinsler started the go-ahead rally for Texas with a one-out single off Steve Trachsel (1-1). Kinsler then stole second and scored on Young's single. Young also stole second and went to third on catcher Hernandez's throw into center field before Hamilton's sacrifice fly -- the second time he drove in Young.

Wilson pitched a perfect ninth after Joaquin Benoit replaced Millwood and struck out three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.

A pair of left-handers who had birthdays this week started the second game.

Gabbard, who threw seven scoreless innings in his first start at the Los Angeles Angels, left with a 4-3 lead against the Orioles after the last of his 101 pitches was the homer by Payton. Gabbard, who turned 26 on Tuesday, allowed seven hits with one strikeout and two walks.

Pitching a day after his 24th birthday, Orioles lefty Adam Loewen (0-1) allowed four runs and six hits over five innings.

The O's Game 1 starter Trachsel gave up three runs and five hits over 6 1-3 innings, leaving after Young's single. The 37-year-old right-hander struck out two and walked four.

"Both starting pitchers were on their game. Trachsel made some great pitches. Millwood is a crafty veteran, and he had good movement," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "With due respect, I thought both pitchers benefited from the time the game started. The batters were having a hard time seeing the ball."

Notes: The Rangers honored public address announcer Chuck Morgan for working his 2,000th consecutive game, the first game of the doubleheader. Except for 2002 when he worked in Kansas City, all of those games have been in Texas since 1983. ... Millwood hasn't lost to the Orioles since May 2006. He has allowed eight earned runs over 44 innings (1.64 ERA) in his winning streak over the Orioles. ... The doubleheader started under sunny, clear skies. While the wind was near 20 mph and gusting, there were no other indications of the severe storms that moved through the area and forced the postponement of Wednesday night's game.


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