Orioles fail to back Millwood as Mariners cruise to shutout

Mariners starter Luke French entered the game with a 4.96 ERA but allowed just three hits in 7 2/3 innings to best Kevin Millwood.
Mariners starter Luke French entered the game with a 4.96 ERA but allowed just three hits in 7 2/3 innings to best Kevin Millwood. (Gail Burton)
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By Jeff Zrebiec
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reprinted from Wednesday's editions

After losing his last start against the Cleveland Indians despite allowing three runs over seven innings, Orioles pitcher Kevin Millwood remarked, "I guess I just got to pick a better night to pitch, when we score more runs."

Tuesday wasn't it as Millwood again reprised his role as hard luck loser while matched up against an unheralded young left-hander. Millwood allowed just one run in eight innings, but his counterpart, left-hander Luke French, was even better, holding the Orioles scoreless for 7 2/3 innings in the Seattle Mariners' 4-0 victory in front of an announced 14,739 at Camden Yards on Tuesday night.

"I worry about things I can control and scoring runs is obviously not something I can control," said Millwood, whose team has scored just 2.1 runs per game during his 24 starts. "I feel like if I go out and pitch well, give us a chance, than I've done my job. If I felt like guys weren't trying it'd be a different story. Everybody is going up there trying to put the ball in play, trying to get hits, trying to score runs. It just didn't happen for us today."

Matt Tuiasosopo, a late entry into the Mariners' lineup, drove in the only run off Millwood with an RBI double in the fifth and then he broke the game open with a three-run homer off Armando Gabino in the eighth.

The Orioles (42-78) lost for the third time in four games and just the second time in nine home games under Manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles fell to 12-25 against left-handed starters this season. Of the eight times they've been shut out this season, three of them are at the hands of a left-handed pitcher.

"I expect Kevin to pitch well when he pitches. He gives us a chance to win. He did it again tonight. We just didn't do much with French," said Buck Showalter, who is 10-5 as Orioles manager. "He was sharp. That wasn't some fluky thing. He drove the ball in the inner half - that change-up, threw a small slider. He was good. He was really good."

French, who entered the game with a 4.96 ERA, allowed just three hits, two of them by rookie third baseman Josh Bell, who broke up the Seattle starter's no-hit bid with a one-out single in the fifth. The Orioles other two hits off him came in the eighth when Bell hit a two-out double and Brian Roberts followed with a single.

With his team's lead just 1-0, Mariners interim manager Daren Brown brought in Brandon League, who retired Nick Markakis on a fielder's choice to end the threat.

Millwood has dropped five straight decisions and is winless since June 24. With his 13th loss, he overtakes teammate Brian Matusz for the American League lead in that category.

In Millwood's last start against the Indians, the Orioles were held down by Jeanmar Gomez, a 22-year-old making just his fourth big league start. Tuesday night, it was French, a 24-year-old who was making just his 17th career start.

Millwood did get through the first inning unscathed, which hasn't been an easy feat for him. In 11 of his previous 14 starts, the veteran right-hander had given up two earned runs or more in the first inning.

French, meanwhile, was having very little trouble sitting down the Orioles. He issued a leadoff walk to the hot-hitting Luke Scott before retiring Jones on a strikeout, Felix Pie on a flyout and Matt Wieters on a groundout.

- The Baltimore Sun

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