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Millwood tosses two-hitter as Mariners beat Rockies

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The Associated Press
5/19/2012 12:25:37 AM
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DENVER -- Third baseman Kyle Seager ranged far to his left on a chopper in the hole, stuck out his glove and snow-coned the ball, only to have it pop out as he went to throw.

So close to making a sensational play in the sixth. So close to preserving Kevin Millwood's no-hit bid.

Still, this was an electric performance for the 37-year-old journeyman pitcher.

Millwood tossed a two-hitter for his first shutout in nearly nine years and Mike Carp hit a solo homer, helping the Seattle Mariners snap a four-game skid with a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.

Millwood (2-4) comfortably cruised through this game and didn't surrender his first hit until two outs in the sixth, when Marco Scutaro's bouncer slipped away from Seager.

No matter, Jordan Pacheco followed with a clean single up the middle.

"Yeah, but make that play and it ends the inning," Seager said, shaking his head. "You're in the next inning and you never know. That's a play I'd like to make.

"If that was the only hit he gave up, I would've hoped for anything they would've given me an error there."

Millwood lauded Seager's lunge.

"Tough play," he said. "Nothing he could do. He gave it a good effort. That's all you can hope for.

"It would've been great if he made the play and could've had fun for a little longer. But he made all the effort he could."

On a night when Detroit's Justin Verlander came within two outs of yet another no-hitter, Millwood made a run of his own in the Mile High City.

"He'll get more," Millwood said of Verlander.

And Millwood?

"I don't know," he said, grinning.

Millwood struck out seven and walked one. He didn't allow a runner to reach third until the ninth inning, but got Carlos Gonzalez to line out to end the game.

"He was banging the corners and he had late movement. He was mixing his pitches," Scutaro explained. "It wasn't like we were hitting a bunch of hard balls. Sometimes you have to give credit to the guy."

Carp hit his third homer of the season in the second, a towering shot to the deepest part of the park. Seager had an RBI single and drove in another on a sacrifice fly. John Jaso added an insurance run the ninth by bringing in Seager on a sac fly.

Alex White (0-3) was the hard-luck loser, dropping his sixth straight start in a dubious string that dates back to Sept. 16. After struggling early, White settled into a groove. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in seven solid innings.

"We got a very competitive effort from Alex White," manager Jim Tracy said. "Unfortunately, the Mariners got a tremendous effort from Kevin Millwood."

Tracy knows all about what Millwood can do on the mound. He witnessed it firsthand last season.

Millwood shuffled around the minor leagues with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox before joining the Rockies rotation last August. Millwood wound up 4-3 wearing Colorado's purple pinstripes.

He once again had to prove himself this season, signing a minor league contract with Seattle. He started winless in his first six games this season, before beating the Yankees last Sunday.

Among all active pitchers, Millwood ranks fourth innings pitched (2,609), strikeouts (2,011) and games started (423). He's also eighth in wins (165).

Millwood already has one no-hitter under his belt as he bottled up the San Francisco Giants in a 1-0 win on April 27, 2003, when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Relying on a 91-mph fastball and an effective slider, Millwood baffled the Rockies all evening. He even made a diving attempt at Scutaro's slow roller in the ninth, only to have Seager pick it up and toss out Scutaro by a step.

"That speaks a lot about him and his competitiveness and leadership," Seager said.

Millwood stayed down on the ground for a minute after the play, soaking up the moment.

"I was just laughing. It didn't hurt at all," he said. "Just wasn't quick enough to get there."

A nifty slide by Ichiro Suzuki in the sixth staked the Mariners to a 3-0 lead, which was more than enough for Millwood. The speedy Suzuki got a good jump as he tagged on Seager's shallow fly. Although Gonzalez's throw was on target -- and arrived about the same time -- Suzuki managed to avoid Wilin Rosario's tag before slapping his hand on the plate.

The Mariners scratched out a run in the first when Saunders laced a triple into the right-centre gap and was brought in when Seager blooped a single centre.

Seager actually knows White quite well, since both were teammates at North Carolina (2007-09). So was infielder Dustin Ackley and the trio helped the Tar Heels to a 159-48 record during their stint at the school and three trips to the College World Series.

"Alex has got a little more sink than in college. His slider is as good as ever," Seager said. "Threw a splitter hadn't seen from him before. He was tough."

So was Millwood.

"I felt like my stuff was good," Millwood said. "I felt like if I could keep my location where it was tonight, I felt like I had a chance to give us a chance."

NOTES: Seattle has a pair of no-hitters in team history, the last by Chris Bosio on April 22, 1993, in a 7-0 win over Boston. Randy Johnson has the other on June 2, 1990, against Detroit. ... The Mariners improved to 2-6 on their 10-game, four-city road swing. ... Nicasio had a bruise on his right thigh after being hit by a line drive in the first inning Thursday.

Kevin Millwood (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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