Derek Holland has been a frustrating figure for Texas Rangers fans, but he appears to be turning the corner at the right time. Holland won his 15th game of the season and lowered his season ERA to 3.92 with another strong seven inning performance, as the Rangers jumped out early on Rich Harden and cruised to a 7-2 win in Oakland. Holland allowed two hits and three walks, striking out seven and giving up one run on a solo home run.
The Texas offense kept hammering – another 14 hits tonight – as everyone in the lineup reached base. Michael Young led the way with three hits, including his 200th of the season. Adrian Beltre got Texas going with a three-run shot in the top of the first, his 28th of the season, while Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli each had two hits of their own.
Texas continues to lead the West by five games after the Angels bounced back to beat the Blue Jays 10-6 in Toronto. The magic number in the division is down to four. The Rangers also have created a little cushion by leading the wild card leading Red Sox by two games, and they caught the Tigers in the standings. Because the Tigers won the head-to-head series with the Rangers this season, Texas must finish with a better record to gain the higher seed.
Game 2 of the series in Oakland is scheduled for 9:05 Wednesday night with old teammates and rivals C.J. Wilson and Brandon McCarthy opposing each other. The Rangers have beaten McCarthy in their last two matchups, one in August and one 12 days ago in Arlington.