Millwood KO's Pirates
"When you play the Braves, you know you're going to have to face however many Cy Young winners," said Jermaine Allensworth, who doubled in the fifth inning for the only Pittsburgh hit. "Then a guy like this comes out of the blue."
The Braves did all of their scoring on three homers, including a three-run shot in the sixth by Andruw Jones, who entered the game hitting .100 with no homers and just one RBI.
But this night belonged to Millwood (2-0), the 23-year-old fifth starter in Atlanta's rotation. He faced only two batters over the minimum and didn't walk a batter.
"My fastball was good and jumping a little bit. I was throwing it where I wanted to," Millwood said. "My off-speed stuff was breaking good. I was pretty much able to throw that where I wanted to. I was able to keep them off balance."
He had at least one strikeout in every inning -- 11 of the 13 came on swinging strikes -- and didn't allow a baserunner until Allensworth doubled to left-center on a hanging curve with one out in the fifth.
Allensworth moved to third on a fly ball, but Pittsburgh's best scoring chance ended when Freddy Garcia hit a towering drive that hooked just outside the foul pole in left for a long strike. Two pitches later, Garcia struck out.
Pittsburgh's only other baserunner reached in the seventh when Jason Kendall was hit by a pitch.
"He had complete command," said Chipper Jones, who hit one of the Atlanta homers. "When you face two guys over the minimum, that's pretty good pitching. We got up in the game early, so I think he was able to relax."
Millwood, whose previous career was eight strikeouts, threw 131 pitches, including 93 strikes. It was the right-hander's first career complete game in his 11th start.
He also gave convincing proof that he is a worthy addition to Atlanta's Big Four, which had accounted for a total of six Cy Young awards.
"I don't see myself as competing against those guys," said Millwod, who has a career record of 7-3. "I think I've proved I can pitch at this level. I don't think I've got any more to prove. All I've got to do is go out and keep pitching good and things are going to go well."
In fact, Millwood enjoys being the forgotten member of Atlanta's rotation.
"I hope what people say is he had one good game and I don't think he can do it again," he said. "I want to lay in the weeds and let people say, `Here's their fifth starter and he's not going to have that good a stuff.' Before they know it, if I'm on that day, I don't think they're going to do much against me."
The Braves went ahead in the third when Chipper Jones hit his sixth homer, a two-run, two-out drive against Jon Lieber (0-2).
Keith Lockhart, who had missed the last seven games because of a rotator cuff injury, returned to the lineup with a flourish, hitting a two-out homer in the fifth to give the Braves a 3-0 lead.
The following inning, the Braves had a runner at second with two outs when Lieber intentionally walked Michael Tucker, a left-handed hitter with a .100 average, to get to right-handed hitter Andruw Jones.
Jones ruined the move by knocking the first pitch over the center-field wall for his first homer.
"A bunch of great players went through hard times when they started out," the 20-year-old Jones said. "When you struggle, you've got something to learn. I'm learning from my struggles."
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