Seattle's Kevin Millwood will try to extend his scoreless- innings streak and keep the Texas lineup in check for a second straight outing this evening when the Mariners open up a three-game set against the Rangers.
Millwood has won three straight starts and has pitched consecutive scoreless outings, giving him a string of 17 straight innings without allowing a run dating back to the final two frames of a win over the Yankees on May 13. It is the second-longest scoreless-innings streak of the 37-year-old's career, behind only an 18-inning streak in 1999.
Millwood hurled a two-hit shutout at Colorado on May 18, then held his former Rangers club to three hits and a walk over six frames of a 5-3 home win on Wednesday. He moved to 3-4 with a 3.72 earned run average on the season.
"Confidence has been building for the last couple weeks," Millwood said. "So I felt like when I got out there, I felt like i was going to have a good game and throw the ball well. Confidence goes a long way in this game and that's what I'm working on right now."
It was the second solid outing versus the Rangers this season for the right- handed Millwood, who got a no-decision at Texas on April 11 after allowing a run over six innings. He is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers.
Millwood figures to be tested tonight after the Rangers clubbed three two-run homers in Sunday's 12-6 win over the Blue Jays. That came one game after Josh Hamilton clubbed a walk-off two-run shot in the 13th inning.
Adrian Beltre hit his homer as part of a seven-run second inning, while Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli also went deep to give the Rangers their fourth victory in five games. Kinsler drove in four runs and Napoli scored three times.
Yu Darvish surrendered three runs on seven hits and three walks in five innings.
"He was a little erratic but he made pitches when he had to and that was the most important thing," Texas manager Ron Washington said of Darvish's outing.
The Rangers have won three in a row, their longest winning streak since an eight-game run from April 12-21, and will try to keep rolling tonight behind Matt Harrison, who beat the Mariners on Tuesday in his last outing.
The left-hander had lost three of his previous four decisions before holding Seattle to a run over seven innings. He struck out six while scattering eight hits and two walks in his first win since May 7. Harrison threw his second quality start in six outings and improved to 5-3 with a 4.72 ERA in nine starts.
Harrison, 26, won his sixth straight start over the Mariners and is 7-1 against them with a 2.54 ERA in 14 meetings (10 starts).
The Mariners had won five of six after Millwood's victory over the Rangers, but were swept in a four-game series by the Angels over the weekend. They lost Sunday's finale 4-2 despite getting eight solid frames from starter Hector Noesi.
Noesi allowed three runs on five hits in the outing, earning praise from manager Eric Wedge despite the losing decision.
"A couple of two-strike pitches hurt him but Hector pitched another great game," noted Wedge. "It's been a lot of fun to watch him progress and he's consistently getting us deep into ballgames and giving us every opportunity to win."
Justin Smoak had two hits and Jesus Montero scored twice for the Mariners.
The Rangers have won 15 of their past 20 versus the Mariners, including four of seven encounters this season.