Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kevin Millwood has suffered through a nightmarish season, yet he still takes the ball every fifth day and gives his best effort. On Saturday night, against the Los Angeles Angels, Millwood’s best effort turned into into his best start of the season.

Millwood scattered six hits over eight innings, and No. 9 hitter Josh Bell slammed a two-run homer, giving the Orioles a 5-0 victory over the suddenly punchless Angels.

Millwood (3-14), who earned his first victory in over two months, could have easily finished the game, having only thrown 110 pitches. Instead, at the request of O’s manager Buck Showalter, he gave way to Jimmy Johnson, who pitched a scoreless ninth. Johnson, who last pitched on April 30, was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday night after being sidelined due to inflammation in his right elbow.

“I know Kevin probably as well as anybody here, and I feel so good for him because I know how much he cares,” Showalter said.

“I think he could have finished that game. I mean, 110 pitches doesn’t come into play on a cool night. But it was a perfect spot for J.J. to get broken in a little bit, and I appreciate the professionalism of Kevin after I explained to him what we were trying to do.”

Millwood worked out of jams in both the fifth and seventh innings, when the Angels put runners on the corners. In the fifth, Milwood induced a double-play grounder to end it, and in the seventh, after Mike Napoli doubled and moved to third on an Erick Aybar single, Millwood retired both Bobby Wilson and Peter Bourjos on pop-ups to escape the threat.

Angels’ starter Scott Kazmir (8-12) was able to match Millwood through the first four innings, however in the fifth, after giving up an infield single to Cesar Izturis, Josh Bell smacked his third major league homer to break the scoreless tie.

The victory was the O’s fifth straight against the Angels this season, and they’ll have a chance to sweep the season series on Sunday afternoon, something neither team has done against each other in 50 years.

For the Angels, they can only scratch their heads and wonder.

You can follow Doug on Twitter, @desertdesperado.

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