Kevin Millwood tries to duplicate a terrific season debut this evening when the Seattle Mariners open a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Millwood was outstanding in his first start for the Mariners on Wednesday, as he gave up a run and four hits in six innings to the hard-hitting Texas Rangers, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 4-3 win. He also retired 16 of the last 19 batters he faced and struck out seven.
"Kevin did a great job. He didn't have it early on. He was up and it was a credit to him that he was able to find it," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge. "I've seen him do that so many times. He's one of the best I've ever seen in regard to controlling damage."
Millwood, who pitched the 2005 campaign with the Indians, is 4-2 lifetime versus his former team with a 3.86 ERA in six starts.
Seattle enters tonight's contest on the heels of taking two of three from the Oakland Athletics over the weekend. On Sunday, Brendan Ryan hit a two-run homer, Blake Beavan went seven solid innings and the Mariners rolled to a 5-3 win.
Beavan (1-1) allowed three runs -- on a homer to Eric Sogard -- on six hits. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.
"I thought Blake pitched a good game," said Wedge. "He executes pitches very well, does a good job with his fastball and his secondary stuff continues to get better and he continues to gain confidence in it, so another impressive performance."
Cleveland, meanwhile, also enters on a winning note after sweeping the Kansas City Royals this past weekend. The Indians completed the sweep on Sunday, as Shelley Duncan blasted a three-run homer and scored three runs in a 13-7 win.
Travis Hafner finished 3-for-4 with a home run, Casey Kotchman added three hits, including a two-run homer, and Jason Kipnis had a solo shot for the Indians, who had dropped four of five before the weekend white wash.
"I feel great and really have a good approach at the plate," Hafner said. "The swing feels good, so I'm in a good spot."
The Indians have now homered in each of their first eight games this season, giving them 15 on the year -- tied for the most in the majors. That's also the club's longest streak to start the year since 2006.
If Cleveland homers in its next two games, the Tribe will tie the second- longest such streak (nine games) in club history since at least 1918. The '02 Indians homered in 14 straight games to start the season.
Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0) gave up four runs on nine hits and three walks over five innings to earn the win. He also struck out five.
Hoping for a similar effort tonight the Indians will turn to right-handed sinkerballer Justin Masterson, who is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA. After giving up a run in eight innings and not getting a decision in his first start, Masterson was tagged with the loss on Wednesday against Chicago, as the White Sox reached him for five runs (three earned) and eight hits in five innings.
"I got what I wanted. They just didn't go exactly where I wanted them to go," said Masterson, referring to the ground balls. "You never assume that they'll find this hole, find this hole and then go to this hole and this hole. The ball's got to go to somebody some time."
Masterson has faced the Mariners eight times (five starts) and is 3-0 against them with a 2.13 ERA.
Cleveland won five of its nine meetings with the Mariners last season.