Kevin Millwood retired the first 10 batters he faced.
Kevin Millwood has had his share of tough-luck losses this year, so the veteran right-hander deserved some necessary help from his bullpen Wednesday as the Mariners held on for a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Millwood was taken out after the fifth inning when a game-long struggle with stiffness in his throwing shoulder finally led to manager Eric Wedge saying enough was enough. And Millwood had just enough of a lead to hang on for the win on a night he and four relievers combined to hold Toronto to just two hits.
Both those hits came against Millwood in the fourth, highlighted by a two-run blast from Edwin Encarnacion that cut the margin to 3-2. But that was the only damage the Blue Jays could do on a night the big right-hander acknowledged was a tough go from the start.
"It's not the way you want to be when you're out there," Millwood said. "I felt like for the most part I could still throw the ball where I wanted, there was just nothing really on it."
So how did he roll through three perfect innings on just 26 pitches and then recover after the home run to retire the final four batters in a row before his night ended at just 66 pitches?
"I think it was more them getting themselves out," said Millwood. "I guess they weren't expecting 85-86 mph."
The win was Seattle's fifth straight over Toronto and clinched the series victory -- with Felix Hernandez set to pitch Thursday's finale -- as the Mariners improved to 69-74 overall and 6-2 against the Blue Jays.
Millwood has received the lowest run support of any Seattle starter while posting a 6-12 record with a 4.25 ERA. But he had won his last start and Wedge wanted badly to get him another victory after his determined effort.
"He gritted through that last inning, but I just didn't feel right pushing him back out there," said Wedge. "He's a warrior, always has been. I was just so thrilled we were able to get him that win. The bullpen did a great job, obviously."
Relievers Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez, Josh Kinney and Tom Wilhelmsen combined for four innings of no-hit ball with two walks and six strikeouts, with Wilhelmsen finishing things off with his 26th save.
"Our bullpen is pretty loaded with guys who want to be in there and get it done," Wilhelmsen said.
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