Millwood gets paid as Rangers top A's
Kevin Millwood needed to break out of a pitching slump just as Texas needed to shake free from an offensive meltdown.
Millwood threw seven strong innings and the Rangers scored more runs in one game than their last seven combined in beating the Oakland Athletics 10-3 on Monday night.
"There's no doubt that scoring in double digits says something good for our offense," Rangers DH Julio Borbon said. "It's not just scoring a lot of runs, but scoring early and helping your pitcher. It helps put us in a better spot as we look ahead."
David Murphy had three hits and drove in two runs to help the Rangers hang on to their slim playoff hopes. Borbon and Chris Davis both drove in two runs as the Rangers won for the second time in eight games, moving within seven games of the Boston Red Sox, who lost 12-9 to Kansas City, in the AL wild card.
"We're going to keep going until there's no more schedule," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "All I know now is that we're not going to finish with a losing record. We have 13 games left and we still have some more wins to get."
Millwood (11-10) gave up an unearned run and three hits, walking one and striking out two. He needed to pitch 4 1-3 innings against Oakland to reach 180 for the season and kick in the fifth and final season of his contract, which is worth $12 million.
"I'm glad I was able to finally go out there and give the team a chance to win," Millwood said of his best game in over four months. "I knew what I had to get but I wanted to go deep in the ballgame. That other stuff takes care of itself."
Millwood skipped a start after allowing five runs in four of his previous five starts. He threw three bullpen sessions between starts to work on a mechanical flaw, which was something as simple as arcing his back too much.
"I've felt fine every time I've pitched," Millwood said. "I just wasn't pitching well. My bullpens don't tend to be too short. I got a lot of work in. That helped me get the ball to go where I wanted easier."
Matt Carson hit a home run for the A's, who had their season-high seven-game winning streak end. Rajai Davis also drove in a run.
Edgar Gonzalez (0-3) lasted 3 1-3 innings, giving up six runs and nine hits. He walked two and struck out three.
"I'm not even positive he was actually struggling with his command," A's manager Bob Geren said. "He was maybe being a little too fine, trying to be on the corners too much. There were a couple of times where he heated up to 92 mph and finished a couple guys off."
Millwood allowed two hits in the first inning but then did not allow a runner past first base until a throwing error by second baseman Ian Kinsler sent Chad Pennington to third. Davis followed with a sacrifice fly.
"That was the best I've seen him in a long time," Geren said of Millwood. "His velocity was up, he worked the ball real well on the corner, especially inside. It just wasn't our night."
The Rangers scored in three of the first four innings.
Hank Blalock singled home a run in the first and Texas added three runs in the second on a two-run single from Borbon and Murphy's RBI single.
"The way we have been swinging the bats the last seven or eight games is not what we expected," Borbon said. "This is something we can build from."
Murphy and Marlon Byrd added run-scoring singles in the fourth to make it 6-0.
After the A's scored, Davis tripled home two runs in the seventh and Blalock drove in a run in the eighth.
A's 1B Daric Barton sat out the game with a sore heel. ... The A's have not allowed a home run in six straight games. ... A's LHP Brad Kilby has retired 19 of the last 20 hitters he's faced and has yet to allow a run in 11 innings. ... The Rangers allowed their 33rd unearned run of the season, second fewest in the majors to Philadelphia's 31. ... Murphy is 7 for 8 against Edgar Gonzalez. ... Rangers C Jarrod Saltalamacchia underwent shoulder surgery in Dallas.