ARLINGTON, Texas – Kevin Millwood provided another pitching gem and kept the suddenly slumping Texas Rangers from being swept.
Millwood threw 7 2-3 scoreless innings Thursday night and Texas beat the Toronto Blue Jays for only its fourth 1-0 victory in 16 seasons since moving into Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Texas, which didn’t homer in the rain-shortened three-game series and lost 9-0 in the previous game Tuesday, got its run when Marlon Byrd hit a sacrifice fly off Ricky Romero (3-3).
Millwood (6-4) gave up five hits with one strikeout and hit a batter while throwing 105 pitches against the Blue Jays, who had won three straight.
The right-hander has allowed two earned runs over 20 2-3 innings his last three starts. The last two victories followed lopsided losses by the AL West-leading Rangers.
After Marco Scutaro grounded out on the game’s first pitch, Millwood gave up consecutive singles before retiring 18 of the next 19 batters into the seventh.
Darren O’Day got Alex Rios to ground out after taking over with a runner at second and two outs in the eighth, then Vernon Wells popped out to open the ninth. The side-winding right-hander has thrown nine scoreless innings his past nine appearances.
C.J. Wilson allowed a double to Adam Lind before getting the final two outs for his sixth save in seven chances.
Romero limited Texas to one run and five hits over 6 1-3 innings, his best outing since returning from the disabled list (oblique strain). The left-hander had allowed 13 earned runs and seven home runs over 16 1-3 innings his previous three starts.
Nelson Cruz had a leadoff single in the second before David Murphy doubled and Byrd hit a flyball to left.
With their offence struggling, the Rangers had to rely on pitching and defence. And they were good in both those areas, getting their fourth shutout of the season.
Millwood jumped up to snag one ground ball and knocked another comebacker down with his bare hand before completing that play. And the infield turned in several standout plays.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler made a scrambling stop, stumbled and regained his balance to make the throw to get Lyle Overbay out in the second. Rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus caught a foul pop falling into the first row along the third-base side in the fifth.
Michael Young, the AL Gold Glove shortstop last season who moved to third base to make room for Andrus, made a diving snag to his left to get Rios’ grounder and then shuffled to his feet and made a strong one-hop throw to first for the final out of the sixth.
Notes: Blue Jays 1B Overbay was 0-for-4, ending his 15-game hitting streak. … Texas made 51 picks in the draft this week, including 30 pitchers. They took 25 college players, 25 high school players and one player from independent baseball. … Rangers radio play-by-play man Eric Nadel returned to the booth after missing six games because of right eye surgery. Before the surgery, he had called 3,176 consecutive games since 1989.