Millwood will look for a fifth consecutive strong start when he takes the mound Sunday against the White Sox in the finale of a three-game set. He has given up just two combined runs in his previous four starts, including back-to-back shutouts in that span. Since his last loss, on May 8, Millwood has lowered his ERA from 5.88 to 3.56.
"He was good; he really had to work for it and they made him work for it," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge of Millwood's last start, one he lasted just five innings on 97 pitches. "But with all these guys, with the work load we've had and the heat [in Texas] and how hard he worked, we weren't going to push him another inning. He's been pitching really well. You don't want one inning to affect his next start or next couple starts."
Millwood's counterpart, Chris Sale, is 14 years his junior but he's had just as much success lately. In fact, Sale is coming off a career-high 15-strikeout performance against the Rays on Memorial Day. Sale finished one strikeout shy of Jack Harshman's club record.
"He's special," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Sale. "I think that's what you're seeing, is him being able to kind of manage the game and know when to go for the strikeout and get ahead and all those things."
Sale hasn't turned in just one great performance this year, though, as he has yet to give up more than three runs in an outing, including an 11-strikeout performance April 20 in Seattle.
Mariners: Saunders responds positively to error
After misplaying a fly ball in the eighth inning that led to three unearned runs in Friday's 7-4 loss to the White Sox, Wedge gave a vote of confidence to the young outfielder.
"He's been a great center fielder for us this year," Wedge said. "It's just one of those fluke things. Nobody feels worse about it than he does. He's a good kid, a hard worker and does everything he's supposed to do to prepare. I've got no problems with him."
Saunders responded positively on Saturday with a career-high four hits, including a two-run home run.
White Sox: Beckham's bat stays hot
After hitting three home runs during June of last season, Gordon Beckham has already matched that number this season. Just two days into June, Beckham has already hit three home runs, after following a two-homer night Friday with another blast Saturday. Beckham also owns a nine-game hitting streak, batting 15-for-43 (.349) with three home runs, seven RBIs and nine runs scored during that time.
The White Sox had their nine-game winning streak snapped by the Mariners in a 10-8, 12-inning loss Saturday, just their second loss in 15 games. The defeat also ended their winning streak over the Mariners at seven games.