Rangers 6, Astros 0


HOUSTON (AP) – Kevin Millwood pitched seven sharp innings, Michael Young drove in two runs and the Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros 6-0 Saturday night.

Millwood (5-3) allowed four hits and struck out six with no walks, improving to 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA on the road. He threw 108 pitches and was replaced by Rick Bauer, who worked a perfect inning before Francisco Cordero finished the five-hitter, Texas’ third shutout this season.

Houston won Friday’s series opener 5-3 but has lost 11 of 15.

Millwood retired 10 straight batters, striking out four, before Morgan Ensberg’s single with one out in the seventh.

The Rangers tagged Astros starter Andy Pettitte for four hits, including two doubles, in the first inning to jump ahead 2-0. Gary Matthews Jr. hit a leadoff double for the second straight game and Young followed with another one to score Matthews. After a single by Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock’s sacrifice fly scored Young.

Kevin Mench followed with a single to load the bases, but Pettitte pitched out of more trouble by retiring the next two batters to end the inning.

After sailing through the second, Pettitte (3-5) allowed two singles to start the third before walking Blalock. Mench then hit a ground-rule RBI double to right. Brad Wilkerson had an RBI single to put Texas ahead 4-0.

In his first appearance since pitching a shutout last Sunday, Pettitte allowed 12 hits in six innings. It was the most hits he’d allowed since the Marlins got 13 hits and 10 runs against him in his first start of the season.

The offensive woes of the Astros, who have scored three runs or fewer in six of their last seven games, got worse on Saturday as Houston didn’t get a runner past first base until the ninth.

It was just the second time Houston had been shut out this season after losing 5-0 at Colorado on May 6.

Gerald Laird hit a solo homer in the ninth inning off Mike Gallo.

Notes: Astros OF Chris Burke went 2-for-5 with a home run in his first at-bat in his first game on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. Burke has been on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury since May 6. … Astros 2B Craig Biggio’s single in the fourth inning gave him sole possession of 41st place on the major league career hit list with 2,841. … Blalock has hit safely in 33 of 41 games.

AP-ES-05-20-06 2207EDT