September 13, 2012 in Sports

Mariners turn back Blue Jays behind Millwood’s effort

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Seattle’s Miguel Olivo circles the bases after homering against Ricky Romero.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

TORONTO – Even catcher Miguel Olivo didn’t know that Kevin Millwood was pitching with a sore shoulder.

Olivo hit a solo home run, Millwood won consecutive starts for the first time since May and the Seattle Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Millwood, who allowed two runs and two hits, left after five innings with stiffness in his shoulder.

“It’s not the way you want to be when you’re out there,” the veteran right-hander said. “I felt like, for the most part, I could still throw the ball where I wanted to, there was just really nothing on it.”

Olivo had no idea his batterymate was hurting until the final out of the fifth.

“He looked fine to me,” Olivo said. “I hope he’s going to be OK for his next start.”

Mariners manager Eric Wedge, who praised Millwood for being “a warrior,” said it was too soon to say whether Millwood might need to skip a start.

“Too early to really talk about it,” Wedge said. “We’ll see how he feels when he comes in here the next couple of days.”

Millwood set down the first 10 Toronto batters and retired his final five, but Wedge wasn’t about to push him any further once he’d done enough to earn the win.

“He gritted through that last inning, but I just didn’t feel right pushing him back out there,” the manager said.

How did Millwood explain his success in the face of pain and stiffness?

“I threw it pretty much where I wanted to, the ball was moving pretty good,” he said. “I guess they weren’t expecting 85, 86 (mph).”

Millwood (6-12), who entered 1-6 in nine career starts at Toronto, won back-to-back starts for the first time since winning three straight from May 13-23. The right-hander, who walked one and struck out three, has won just three of 19 starts since.

Edwin Encarnacion touched up Millwood for his 39th homer, a two-run drive into the second deck, but it wasn’t enough to keep Ricky Romero from losing his 13th straight decision. The Blue Jays managed only two hits against five Mariners pitchers.

Tom Wilhelmsen earned his 26th save in 29 chances.

“Those aren’t easy save opportunities we’re seeing him get,” Wedge said. “He’s done a great job for us.”

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