Mets' rally falls short in first game of doubleheader

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kevin Millwood sweated out his first road win in a year -- and it wasn't the steamy weather.

Mets manager Willie Randolph was feeling the heat for another reason.

Millwood pitched six solid innings Sunday and the Texas Rangers held on for an 8-7 victory in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday.

"It wasn't the best outing ever but I felt like it was OK and I gave us a chance to win," said Millwood, who gave up five hits and two runs.

Ramon Vazquez hit a two-run homer and had four RBIs, and Ian Kinsler and Milton Bradley also homered for Texas, which evened up the three-game series and may have increased the possibility Randolph will lose his job before the team boards a plane for California on Sunday night.

"The only time we think about it is when we read what you guys write or we answer the questions," Mets starter John Maine said. "I think Willie is doing a good job. But he's not the one out there throwing the pitches or swinging the bats. So you can't put the blame solely on him."

The Mets are heading west for the second time in two weeks and Randolph said his bags were packed for the trip. But after returning from a 2-5 West Coast swing on Monday, including a four-game sweep by the lowly Padres, rumors intensified that Randolph could lose his job by the end of the series against Texas.

Before the first game Sunday, Randolph said he had no idea what combination of results in the twinbill was needed to remain the club's manager.

"When you're not playing well, it's frustrating," Randolph said. "But we've got another game to go. You can't get frustrated now. We've got to stay away from any more damage and just get the job done."

Pedro Martinez was set to make his first home start of the season against Kason Gabbard in the nightcap, the makeup for Saturday's rainout.

Millwood (5-3) improved to 3-0 in four starts since returning from a groin injury May 29. Other than allowing long homers to Carlos Delgado in the fourth and Carlos Beltran in the sixth, he kept the ball mostly in the infield with meek grounders. Texas outfielders made just two putouts while he was on the mound and Millwood struck out five. He also walked four -- one intentionally.

Millwood had lost a club-record 10 straight decisions on the road dating to June 17, 2007 -- Father's Day.

"I've won more games on the road than just Father's Day, just not lately," said Millwood, who has 138 career wins.

C.J. Wilson gave up two runs in the ninth on singles by Beltran and pinch-hitter Ramon Castro before getting Damion Easley to fly to left with runners on first and second for Wilson's 13th save in 15 tries. It was a save situation because the Mets scored three times in the eighth to make it 8-5.

New York had a chance to keep the eighth inning going, but with the bases loaded and one out, Brian Schneider tried to score from third on a fly ball by Jose Reyes. Bradley threw Schneider out at the plate.

It was tough," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We go into the eighth inning with a six-run lead -- you don't expect to wind up with a one-run game. ... Eddie did a good job of getting out of that inning and minimize the damage. Then C.J. got three outs. That's about all I can say about that."

Maine (6-5) continued the recent run of solid outings by Mets starters, working into the seventh. He turned the game over to Pedro Feliciano with the Mets trailing 3-2 and runners on first and third. Feliciano threw a wild pitch to move the runner to second.

The Mets brought the infield in and Vazquez hit a sharp grounder past shortstop Reyes, a potential double-play ball had the infield been back, for two runs.

Kinsler then hit his 10th homer off Joe Smith for a 7-2 lead and a chorus of boos from the increasingly surly New York crowd. Bradley homered off Scott Schoeneweis in the eighth.

Maine allowed five runs and seven hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

Kinsler gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring single in the third and Vazquez connected for his fourth homer in the fifth to make it 3-1.

Trot Nixon had a double and single in his first start for the Mets since being acquired from Arizona on Friday night.

"That was a tough loss," Randolph said. "We made a nice comeback. The guys fought back really nicely. We just needed a break, another break to get us going, get the W."

Game notes
Mets RF Ryan Church, on the DL with post-concussion syndrome, visited the clubhouse Sunday. He said he has not had any dizziness in several days and was feeling much better. He will not make the trip with the team west. ... Rangers INF Hank Blalock will begin a rehab assignment Monday at Triple-A Oklahoma. He had carpal tunnel syndrome surgery on May 30.