ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) — Rangers starter Derek Holland missed the team’s first 137 games with a knee injury. He’s making every opportunity in the final 25 count.
Holland surrendered just one run over seven innings, Robinson Chirinos singled in the winning run, and Texas beat Atlanta in the interleague series opener 2-1 on Friday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington.READ MORE: 'North Texas Giving Day' Raises A Record-Breaking $66 Million+
Since returning, Holland has surrendered just two runs and recorded 17 strikeouts in 21.0+ innings pitched.
The left-hander became just the second Rangers pitcher in franchise history to post three consecutive starts of 7.0+ innings with zero walks. Fergie Jenkins did it in 1979 — something Holland is fully aware of.
“I heard, but I don’t want to get caught up in that stuff,” said Holland after the game. “I have to stay focused. It’ll be awesome if I continue the no walks thing. But I have to go out there everyday and give us a chance to win.”
After Beltre collected his second single of the night in the 8th inning, Chirinos lined an 0-1 pitch to center field. A sliding Beltre beat the throw from centerfielder B.J. Upton to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
Phil Klein (1-2) worked the 8th inning, striking out two to collect his first major league win.
Neftali Feliz worked a perfect 9th inning for his 9th save in 10 attempts.
“He’s got intensity right now,” said interim manager Tim Bogar. “He goes out there every night, and it looks like he’s into it. It’s a pleasure to see.”
Holland surrendered eight hits on the night, but they were all singles, limiting the damage.READ MORE: Texas Secretary Of State's Office Announces Full Forensic Audit Of 2020 General Election in Four Texas Counties
Atlanta opened the third inning with consecutive singles by Upton and Andrelton Simmons. Upton scored on a fielder’s choice by first baseman Jason Heyward. Holland worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the Braves’ lead at 1-0.
“My whole goal was to take care of business as much as I could,” said Holland. “My defense made the plays for me when they needed to.”
Texas should have responded in the fourth, but a baserunning error ultimately kept the offense off the board.
With runners on first and second and no outs, shortstop Elvis Andrus was picked off at second base. After Adrian Beltre struck out swinging, Rua ripped a double up the third base line that would have scored Andrus on the play.
Instead, Rougned Odor grounded out the end the threat.
Texas broke through in the 6th inning, with DH J.P. Arencibia leading off with a double to left field. After a single to right field by Beltre, pinch runner Guilder Rodriguez trotted home on a Rua groundout to even the score 1-1.
Texas continues the three-game set with Atlanta on Saturday. Lisalverto Bonilla is set to make his first MLB start in place of the injured Scott Baker.
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