Holland propels Rangers past Indians

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[August 29, 2016]  ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Derek Holland that the Texas Rangers have seen since he returned from the disabled list earlier this month isn't the same man who went down with shoulder inflammation in June.

That's a good thing.

Holland was once again efficient Sunday against Cleveland as he allowed one run in six innings and won for the first time since June 5 as the Rangers posted a 2-1 victory over the Indians on Sunday.

Texas took three of four in the matchup of American League division leaders and upped its lead in the AL West to 8 1/2 games over Seattle and Houston.

Holland (6-6), who was making his second start since missing two months because of shoulder inflammation, didn't walk a batter and struck out five on four hits. He threw just 84 pitches as he's allowed just two runs in 12 innings since coming off the disabled list.

"It's good to live in the moment," Holland said. "I've got to continue to worry about staying consistent, focus on what I'm doing and keep going out there and giving the team a chance to win."

Texas didn't muster much offense against Cleveland starter Danny Salazar (11-6) but made it count. Shortstop Elvis Andrus drew a one-out walk in the third, stole second and scored on a two-out single to right by Ian Desmond.

The Rangers made it 2-0 in the fifth after Adrian Beltre opened the inning with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jonathan Lucroy's single to center brought Beltre home.

Cleveland touched Holland for a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Jason Kipnis. But Holland got out of the inning with runners on first and second by getting Mike Napoli to line out to left.

Holland also benefited from defense behind him. New outfielder Carlos Gomez made two nifty catches in left and Lucroy threw out Brandon Guyer as he tried to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt in the fifth inning.

"He (Holland) would show us a fastball and then go right to offspeed, and would repeat it two, three times in a row," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "We seemed like we were still looking fastball. He kept us off balance until that last inning (the sixth)."

The Texas bullpen did the rest, as Jake Diekman, Matt Bush and Sam Dyson each worked scoreless frames with Dyson notching his 29th save. Dyson loaded the bases with one out in the ninth but struck out Tyler Naquin and then got Abraham Almonte to fly out to center to end the game.

The win moved the Rangers 23 games over .500, one shy of their high-water mark for the season as they get ready to host Seattle. The Indians have now scored zero or one run in six of their last seven games.

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Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) and second baseman Rougned Odor (12) dump water and Powerade on starting pitcher Derek Holland (45) after defeating the Cleveland Indians 2-1 at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

"The series was huge," Lucroy said. "We're trying to gain as much ground. (Cleveland) is a playoff-contending team right there. To be honest, we might seem them again in the playoffs. We have got to make sure we get there too as well."

Although the Indians lost, Salazar had his strongest outing this month. He gave up two runs, but also matches his season high with 10 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings of work.

"I was focused, attacking, mixing my pitches, my fastball throwing it inside and outside, and I think that helped a lot," Salazar said. "I was being aggressive with myself. I was making adjustments in my head.

Cleveland outhit the Rangers 6-5 as Francisco Lindor had half the Indians' hits. Desmond and Lucroy each had two hits for Texas.

NOTES: Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland's grand slam on Saturday gave the club four for the season, which matched the total for the 2013-15 campaigns combined. ... The five first-inning runs the Rangers scored Saturday were the most by the team in a game this year. ... There has been no change in the status of Texas RHP Jeremy Jeffress, who remains on Major League Baseball's restricted list following his DWI arrest Friday. ... Cleveland has been shut out twice in the same series for the first time since 2013. ... Saturday's win over Cleveland guaranteed the Rangers their first winning season vs. the Indians since 2013. The Rangers also own all tiebreakers in possible playoff tiebreaking scenarios.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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