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Millwood's nice outing not enough

Millwood's nice outing not enough

ANAHEIM -- On Saturday night, Kevin Millwood pitched the Rangers' first complete game in their last 196 games overall while lowering his ERA to 1.29 over his first two starts of the season.

He is still looking for his first victory. Millwood, for a second straight outing, was good but Angels starter Jered Weaver was better.

Weaver pitched seven scoreless innings against the Rangers and the Angels hung on to a 2-1 victory at Angel Stadium. The Rangers' only run came on an eighth-inning home run by David Murphy against Angels reliever Darren Oliver.

Millwood went eight innings and was credited with a complete game, the Rangers' first since Aug. 29, 2006. It came one day after the Rangers had set an American League record by going 195 straight games without one. So at least the Rangers don't have to talk about that anymore.

"Tonight definitely belonged to the pitchers," manager Ron Washington said after a night in which the Angels hitters found some holes and the Rangers could not. In doing so, the Angels snapped a six-game losing streak to the Rangers.

"I was very happy with what Millwood gave us, that's for sure," Washington said. "That's the type of baseball game I enjoy being in, but someone has to win and someone has to lose. They put up two runs and we put up one, but Millwood has nothing to hang his head over."

Weaver, though, dominated the Rangers for seven innings, allowing four baserunners on three singles and a hit batter. He struck out six and the Rangers were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position off him.

"[Weaver] threw strikes, that's all that mattered," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "All he did was mix up his pitches. It was just one of those nights when he was in the zone, and we weren't swinging like we usually do."

The Rangers had two runners on base just once in an inning against Weaver. That was in the fourth, when Weaver hit Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley singled to right with one out. But Weaver struck out Hank Blalock and Marlon Byrd to end the threat, and Weaver ended up retiring the last 11 batters he faced.

"It was one of the nights where you have to be patient and wait for something good to hit, but he never did," first baseman Ben Broussard said. "I got one good pitch to swing at all night."

The Rangers probably aren't interested to hear that Weaver felt like he didn't have his best stuff. He warned Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher after the first inning that it might be a long night. Butcher told him to go out and act like he had his best stuff.

Weaver ended up doing a pretty good imitation.

"I don't know if it was a dead arm, but I just didn't have my good fastball," said Weaver, adding that he was helped late in the game by the Rangers making some outs early in the counts rather than working him like they did early in the game.

The Rangers have scored just two runs during the 14 innings in which Millwood has been in the game over his first two starts.

"Milly was great; it's just sad that we couldn't back him up," shortstop Michael Young said.

Millwood, though, did give up 12 hits in those eight innings. Several found holes just beyond the grasp of defenders, but Millwood still wasn't ready to portray himself as the hard-luck loser who deserved a better fate.

"I thought Weaver threw the ball really good," Millwood said. "Sometimes you tip your cap. I thought I pitched what I'd call a pretty good bad game. I gave up a ton of hits and had just one 1-2-3 inning. I made some pitches when I needed to, but I didn't make enough of them."

The middle innings were a constant struggle. He faced 17 batters in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and 10 reached base on eight hits, one walk and a hit batter. Singles by Garret Anderson, Casey Kotchman and Howie Kendrick scored one run in the fourth, and singles by Gary Matthews Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero and a double by Torii Hunter scored a second run in the fifth.

Millwood was able to get out of the fifth when Kendrick hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, and trouble was also averted in the sixth when Byrd threw out Erick Aybar trying to score from second on Matthews' single.

"The good thing was I didn't walk as many guys as the last time," Millwood said. "But I'm not going to feel bad for myself. I didn't pitch good enough to win. That's what it all boils down to."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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