Holland off again as Rangers fall to Mariners

The Texas Rangers have nothing to complain about after wrapping up a 7-3 homestand that saw them take a one and a half game lead in the American League West race.

They were able to do that despite the struggles of left-hander Derek Holland.

Holland had his third-straight ugly line Sunday, allowing seven runs in 4 1/3 innings as Seattle pummeled the Rangers 9-2.

Holland is now 0-2 in his last three starts with a 9.00 ERA and Sunday he never found a rhythm.

"I’m just not very happy with the way things went," Holland said. "I’ve got to pitch better than that. I pitched terrible. We’re in a playoff race here and I’m supposed to be a guy you can count on and I’m not showing it right now."

Seattle had baserunners in every inning against Holland. He was able to keep the Mariners off the scoreboard through three innings, but then Seattle scored twice off him in the fourth and ended his day in the fifth with five runs. 

His day came to an end after he intentionally walked Nelson Cruz to get to the left-handed hitting Robinson Cano. Holland, who hadn’t allowed a home run to a left-handed batter since Aug. 21, 2013, then gave up a three-run rocket to right to make it 8-2 Mariners.

In his last three games Holland has pitched 17 innings, allowing 26 hits and 17 earned runs. Sunday he had no command as only 43 of his 92 pitches found the strike zone. The ones that did were hit hard.

Holland’s velocity was down a tick Sunday, but he said that had more to do with him trying to find the strike zone than a tired arm. 

"I felt really good," said Holland, who walked five and struck out three. "It was working out the first couple of innings, and then I was getting ahead of myself. I wasn’t throwing the pitches I should be throwing, executing the pitches the way I need to. It was an all-around piss-poor performance."

Holland’s next start is slated for Saturday in Houston. He said he’ll be ready for that one and manager Jeff Banister has no doubt Holland will be able to bounce back from the rough patch.

"It was pretty similar to last start," Banister said. "The command with the fastball, trying to get the fastball where he wanted to, and working from behind a number of hitters. He seemed to get himself in trouble in those situations."

The Rangers did little to bail Holland out against Felix Hernandez, who improved his record against the Rangers to 5-0 in five starts this year. He exited after 5 2/3 innings because of  sore right elbow, which wasn’t considered to be serious.

By the time Hernandez exited the Seattle lead was 8-2 and the Rangers were on their way to a four-hit afternoon, with none of those hits coming after the Rangers tied the game at 2 in the fourth inning.

As bad as Holland was though the Rangers are now focused on a road trip that starts Tuesday in Oakland before the trip to Houston. They’ll have momentum with them despite Sunday.

"It was a good homestand for us" said first baseman Mitch Moreland, who homered off Hernandez to give Texas a 1-0 lead in the second inning. "We’ve played good baseball, we’re in a great position and we’re right where we want to be. Feeding off of each other and going to continue to try and do that on the road trip."

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