SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox look like two teams headed in opposite directions.
Kevin Millwood pitched six stingy innings to win for the first time in 5½ weeks and Seattle beat the staggering Red Sox 2-1 Wednesday night, handing Boston its eighth defeat in nine games.
The last-place Mariners (67-71) won for the 11th time in 14 home games and matched their win total from last year with 24 games remaining. That is progress for a team that's had two consecutive losing seasons and hasn't been to the playoffs since 2001.
"It should mean something to them," second-year Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "These guys have worked hard to get better and they are better. And they're going to keep getting better."
Dustin Ackley hit a two-run single in the fourth to back Millwood (5-12), who allowed four hits and one run in his first victory since July 28. The right-hander had gone 1-8 since May 21.
Millwood walked three and struck out three. Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth for his 24th save in 27 opportunities.
Boston, one of baseball's top teams for a decade, went 1-8 on a miserable road trip for the club's worst West Coast swing since a 1-8 debacle in September 1989.
"This was not a good road trip, obviously," said embattled manager Bobby Valentine, whose fourth-place team is 10-24 since Aug. 1. "One of the worst I've even experienced."
Eric Thames opened the fourth with a bloop single to left. Mike Carp walked and Casper Wells singled through the left side, loading the bases with nobody out.
"The walk hurt a little," Valentine said. "The base hit by Casper could have been at somebody but it was right in the hole."
After Brendan Ryan popped out, Ackley ripped Aaron Cook's fastball up the middle.
"That one just kind of stayed up a little bit," Ackley said.
Cook (3-9) gave up seven hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out five.
The last time Cook faced the Mariners on June 29 he threw 88 pitches in a two-hit shutout for his first complete game in more than three years. Since then, he is 1-8. His last victory was Aug. 6.
The Red Sox threatened in the fourth with two outs. Cody Ross, who had three hits, and James Loney reached on singles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked. Ryan Lavarnway bounced out to third to end the inning.