(Sports Network) - Baltimore Orioles starter Kevin Millwood is beginning to come around and will try for his third straight win tonight against the Oakland Athletics in the second test of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
Millwood began the 2010 campaign 0-8 with a 5.16 earned run average over his first 14 starts, but finally reached the win column June 19 in a 5-4 win at San Diego. He threw six innings of three-run ball that day and made it consecutive victories last Thursday versus Florida. In the 11-5 drubbing of the Marlins, Millwood was reached for four runs in five innings.
The right-hander, who is just 1-3 in eight home starts this season, will try to bounce back against an Oakland team that beat him back on April 16. Millwood gave up four runs -- three earned -- in six innings to fall to 6-4 in 17 career starts in this series.
The Orioles can use another strong outing by Millwood after having their season-high four-game winning streak come to an end in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the A's. Brian Matusz fell to 2-9 on the season and allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"It's definitely frustrating, but I just need to let it go and focus on my next start," Matusz said after losing his last nine decisions. "If you start worrying about that (losing nine straight decisions), it won't make things any easier."
Luke Scott had two hits and an RBI, and Cesar Izturis knocked in a run for Baltimore, which is 4-3 on a nine-game homestand. The Orioles are last in the AL East and sit 24 games behind the division-leading Yankees.Adam Jones had his eight-game hitting streak cut short with an 0-for-3 showing last night.
Oakland extended its winning streak to a season-high four games last night thanks to six innings of one-run ball from emergency starter Vin Mazzaro and three RBI out of Kurt Suzuki.
"I battled out of some jams, stuck with the fastball and got ground balls when we needed them, and it worked out pretty well," said Mazzaro.
Dallas Braden was scheduled to start on the mound for the A's but was scratched several hours prior to the game due to elbow stiffness. Kevin Kouzmanoff finished 0-for-5 last night and entered the game batting .367 with five homers and 14 RBI in June. Cliff Pennington went 1-for-4 with a run scored and was hitting .447 with seven multi-hit games over the past 15.
A's newcomer Ben Sheets hasn't won back-to-back starts since June of the 2008 campaign and has a chance to break the silence tonight against the O's. Sheets, who missed all of 2009 because of an elbow injury, ended a personal four-start losing streak the last time out on Friday in a 14-4 rout of Pittsburgh.
Even though Sheets allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings, he was able to pick up his first win since May 8 versus Tampa Bay, going 0-4 with a decent 3.91 ERA in the previous eight trips to the hill. Sheets will now try to take care of business on the road, where he is 0-5 in eight starts in 2010.
The lanky right-hander earned his first win in an Oakland uniform on April 15 against Baltimore. In the 6-2 victory at the Coliseum, Sheets tossed six shutout innings and scattered five hits. He is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts in this series.
Oakland has won six of eight meetings with Baltimore this season and is 16-3 in the previous 19 contests between the clubs.