Millwood had pitched at least seven innings in each of his first six starts this season, and he hit that mark again Saturday night against the White Sox, but this time it was a pivot point in a 3-2 loss before 28,864 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Rangers manager Ron Washington stuck with Millwood for 115 pitches.
"He still had something left. He's our horse," said Washington.
Millwood jammed Chris Getz -- but he singled -- to open the eighth and then drilled Carlos Quentin with a pitch. Jermaine Dye chased Millwood with a single to right, leaving 22-year-old rookie Derek Holland to enter a bases-loaded jam to face a potential Hall of Famer in Jim Thome.
The lefty broke Thome's bat on a grounder to second, which Ian Kinsler used to force Getz out at home. For one batter, Holland did his job and gave way to Darren O'Day, who couldn't preserve the 2-2 tie. Paul Konerko worked a 3-2 count before lifting a sacrifice fly to center that scored Quentin and gave the White Sox (14-15) the go-ahead run.
"I didn't think I had the best stuff in the world, but it was good enough to compete," said Millwood, who was charged with three earned runs on seven hits."It just wasn't good enough to win. I just didn't make the key pitches when I needed to."
It almost looked as if Millwood (3-3) had hung around long enough to pick up the victory. The Rangers (16-14) wasted a great opportunity against reliever Scott Linebrink in the eighth, when Marlon Byrd led off with a single to center and then stole second. Byrd was stranded, and the Rangers went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight on base.
"They did what they have to do to get us out," Washington said. "The chances [were] there, and I'll take those chances the rest of the way out, because I know we'll deliver. We had Linebrink on the ropes, we had [Matt] Thornton on the ropes -- they got out of it."
The White Sox staff notched 14 strikeouts in total, shredding a lineup that's waiting on Michael Young, who is hoping to be back Sunday, and Josh Hamilton, who's set to come of the DL on Tuesday, to return.
"That makes it more difficult," outfielder David Murphy said. "You can't argue that. But at the same time, nobody's worrying, thinking we can't win without those two guys. You drop names like Kinsler, Andruw Jones -- they're pretty quality players, too. We may not have the depth that we normally do with those two guys in the lineup, [but] we're capable of winning."
Chicago starter John Danks was 0-2 with an 8.68 ERA in his previous two starts, which included a 5-1 loss to the Rangers, the organization that selected him ninth overall in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. Across Saturday night the lefty from Round Rock, Texas, flashed that high-ceiling potential. By the sixth inning, Danks had matched and then surpassed his career high in strikeouts, which is now 10.
Patrick Mooney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.