More first-inning woes (updated)

Kevin Millwood gave up another run in the first inning tonight when Trevor Crowe reached on an infield hit with two outs - a play close enough to bring manager Buck Showalter out of the dugout.

Millwood had allowed at least two runs in the opening frame in 11 of 12 starts before shutting down the White Sox in his last outing. Opponents have totaled 35 runs in the first inning.

Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera singled tonight after falling behind, 0-2, in the count. Shin-Soo Choo flied out and Shelley Duncan hit a check-swing bouncer to second. Crowe failed to lay down a bunt before working the count full and grounding to Cesar Izturis’ backhand side. Izturis made a strong throw to first, but Crowe was ruled safe as Brantley scored.

Crowe kept glancing at third base before Millwood delivered his first two pitches. I knew he was thinking bunt.

In his last start, Millwood walked White Sox leadoff hitter Juan Pierre before retiring the next three batters. He came close to escaping tonight’s jam, but either Crowe or the call at first base ruined it, depending on your viewpoint.

Jim Johnson is starting tonight at Double-A Bowie, as his injury rehab assignment moves to the Eastern League. Lou Montanez is batting third and playing left field.

The threat of more rain caused the Orioles to bump up Johnson to the first inning. Rick Zagone was supposed to start.

Instant update: I’m told that Johnson retired all three batters he faced on two grounders to short and a strikeout that came on a curveball in the dirt. He threw 10 pitches, eight for strikes. His fastball was clocked at 88-91 mph on the Prince George’s Stadium radar gun.

Showalter continues to be great for the MASN ratings.

Last night’s game earned a 5.9 HH rating in Baltimore and a 1.4 HH rating in DC. In Baltimore, it peaked at 9:30 p.m. at an 8.3 rating as fans tuned in to watch Brad Bergeson finish his two-hitter.

Since Showalter took over, ratings in Baltimore have risen from 3.3 to a 5.0, an increase of 52%. Ratings in D.C. have jumped from 0.7 to 1.1, an increase of 57%. The total number of households in Baltimore have increased from 36,069 to 54,650. They’ve increased in D.C. from 16,345 to 25,685. The total number of households in both markets has gone from 52,414 to 80,335.

That would make a nice contract incentive.

By the way, the Caps earned a 1.5 HH rating in Washington during the 2009-2010 season while contending for the Stanley Cup. The Wizards earned a 0.9 HH rating in Washington while, well, being the Wizards.

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