Kevin Millwood still looking for first Mariners victory
Mariners starter Kevin Millwood gave up four runs to the Rays in the second inning Thursday, then settled down.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Friday Minnesota, 7:10 p.m., ROOT | Vargas (3-2, 3.38) vs. Pavano (1-2, 4.91)
Saturday Minnesota, 6:10 p.m., ROOT | Hernandez (2-1, 2.23) vs. Marquis (2-0, 6.23)
Sunday Minnesota, 1:10 p.m., ROOT | Noesi (1-3, 7.83) vs. Blackburn (0-3, 6.64)
Monday Detroit, 7:10 p.m., ROOT | Beavan (1-3, 4.45) vs. Verlander (2-1, 2.38)
Tuesday Detroit, 7:10 p.m., ROOT | Millwood (0-3, 5.34) vs. TBA
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For the second start in a row, Kevin Millwood pitched into the seventh inning on Thursday. But Millwood still is looking for his first Mariners victory.
His undoing this time was a four-run second inning by Tampa Bay, in which the Rays bunched five straight hits. Those included a two-run homer by Jeff Keppinger and a two-run triple by Desmond Jennings, which proved decisive in the Rays' 4-3 victory.
Millwood settled down to hold the Rays scoreless on two hits until being lifted with one out in the seventh. He is 0-3 with a 5.34 earned-run average in five Seattle starts.
"It was just a couple of pitches, really," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He threw the ball real well today and got us deep in the ballgame, kept us right there. We scored the two and gave it back, but he was able to stop it right there. (Lucas) Luetge was very good, too. He's been very impressive."
Luetge, the Rule 5 rookie, held the Rays hitless for 1-2/3 innings and still hasn't given up a run in 11 major-league appearances.
Millwood said of his outing, "It didn't feel like I was making all bad pitches. Just some balls found holes and they hit a gap and that was pretty much it."
Smoak still searching
Slumping Justin Smoak got off to a promising start Thursday with an RBI single in the second inning.
"It was the type of swing we're talking about, so it's a good sign," Wedge said.
But with the tying run on second base in the sixth inning, Smoak struck out, as did Mike Carp before him and Michael Saunders after him.
"That's never good, especially with a leadoff double," Smoak said. "You want to get him over and get him in. Right there, you've got a leadoff double. I don't know what the percentages are, but most of the time you score that guy. We didn't get it done."
Smoak said his game plan was to "get a pitch out over the plate to drive. That's what I try to do every time. He made some good pitches, then I chased one. That was it."
The Mariners lost the four games to Tampa Bay by a total of five runs.
"Yeah, but we wouldn't lose if we did little things right," Smoak said. "That's what you've got to do. We started off great, got two runs across early. After that, we just kind of went through the motions."
Jaso behind the plate
John Jaso, making his first start of the season at catcher, had two doubles, including the one in the sixth. During Saunders' at-bat, there was a wild pitch, and he rounded third aggressively. Jaso admitted he considered going for home.
"I did. I was going to do something stupid out there," he said. "I was leaning toward third base there a couple times during the Smoak at-bat. Sometimes crazy things out there, if they work to your advantage, you can get something going. I kind of learned that in the past. I was thinking about doing something crazy there for a while, and I'm glad I held up. That would have been bad."
When it was pointed out to Jaso that he's not Rickey Henderson in the speed department, he replied, "Yeah, but I still am crazy, so I'd do it."
For the record: W-L: 11-16 W PCT: .407
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com