The Orioles were done in today by the three-run homers that Kevin Millwood surrendered to Josh Hamilton in the first inning and Vladimir Guerrero in the fifth.
Millwood, as I pointed out earlier, has allowed 38 runs in the first inning this season.
“I give him a little bit of an out. He was already warmed up and the rain came and he sat around for a little while. But I understand some of the problems he’s had there, regardless,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“You get a lineup like that with those types of three, four hitters, the focus has to be so much on the two guys hitting in front of them. I’m not sure those guys hit without people out there.”
Does the lack of run support wear down Millwood?
“Kevin’s as professional a guy as I’ve been around and he understands certain things are out of his control,” Showalter said. “Obviously, it’s really sticky and hot as it is for everybody. He had a lot of plays today, too, covering first and bunts. That was a challenging day physically.
“Those two pitches, I know he’d love to get them back, but he shouldn’t feel like those two guys were picking on him. They’ve been doing it to a lot of good pitchers for a long time. Kevin understands that. It doesn’t mean he isn’t frustrated internally, but you’d like to pitch with some margin of error now and then. It certainly frees up a lot of things mentally. We weren’t able to provide that again today.”
Rick VandenHurk supplied one of the few highlights of the day for the Orioles with his scoreless seventh inning that included two strikeouts and a pickoff.
“He was sitting around a while,” Showalter said. “I asked if he remembered how to get out there. You take a little moment there. His mom’s here in town, and his sister, I believe he hadn’t seen her in nine months. I was looking for the right spot to go there with him. He had a really good inning and I wanted to get him out of there with good thoughts.
“We had a chance there. Just couldn’t put anything together.”