Rangers 5, Red Sox 3
Derek Holland is intent on making up for the time he missed on the mound for the Texas Rangers, who keep winning series at home.
The left-hander certainly seems to be getting back into form after missing a month because of shoulder fatigue brought on when he lost about 15 pounds when he had a stomach virus.
Holland retired 20 of 22 batters over one stretch Wednesday night and struck out seven in 7 2-3 innings, and the Rangers scored the go-ahead run after a couple of wild throws by Josh Beckett in a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
''I'm trying to do everything I can to step up and get those innings back, that I had lost in the month off,'' Holland said. ''I put the pressure on myself. Obviously everybody else wants me to step things up, but I feel like I'm kind of doing it on my own.''
The Rangers took two of three against Boston to win their seventh consecutive series at home. It came during a three-day span when they found out right-hander Colby Lewis was done for the season with a torn flexor tendon and Roy Oswalt skipped his scheduled start because of back stiffness.
In his fourth start since coming off the DL, Holland (7-5) allowed three runs and five hits with one walk.
''We needed exactly what he gave us,'' manager Ron Washington said. ''He competed. He gave up two home runs, but he didn't let it affect him and kept getting after it.''
Elvis Andrus was hit on the left forearm by a pitch to reach with one out in the seventh. He got to third on a single by Adrian Beltre and scored to break a 3-all tie when Beckett (5-9) threw a wild pitch that bounced several feet wide of the plate.
''Josh gave us a zero in the first inning, as promised, and pitched a good game,'' Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. ''Nobody on in the seventh, then a wild pitch to score a go-ahead run. ... It's a damn shame.''
Beltre was back in the lineup a day after being hit by a pitch thrown by Vicente Padilla that knocked off his helmet and sent him to the ground. Beltre, who insisted again before Wednesday's game that he didn't think that 0-2 pitch was purposely thrown at him, had a bruise but no concussion.
In what may have been a bit of retaliation with two outs in the first, Red Sox cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez was hit in the buttocks by a pitch. Home plate umpire Tim Tschida, the crew chief, pointed Gonzalez to first base and didn't issue any warnings.
There were no further issues, and it was clear by Beckett's reaction when he hit Andrus in the seventh that it was just a pitch that got away.
While retiring 20 of 22 batters, Holland gave up solo homers to Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia. He struck out the side in the seventh. The impressive stretch ended when Pedro Ciriaco had a two-out single in the eighth with Pedroia on deck.
Mike Adams retired Pedroia on a running catch by left fielder David Murphy. Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances a day after allowing consecutive two-out walks and then giving up a run in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox.
Beckett, who allowed nine hits and walked two in his seven innings, never appeared in the clubhouse when it was open to reporters after the game.
Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk to start the game and eventually scored when Pedroia grounded into a double play.
Holland began his impressive streak after Middlebrooks led off the second with a single. Middlebrooks hit his 12th homer in the fourth, and Pedroia went deep in the sixth.
The Rangers scored three times in the fourth, when they got started with doubles by Michael Young and Murphy. It was Young's first extra-base hit in 11 games since the All-Star break, and Murphy's first RBI since June 28.
Murphy scored on Craig Gentry's perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt to tie the game at 2. Ian Kinsler followed with an RBI bloop single that dropped after glancing off the heel of sliding right fielder Cody Ross' glove.
''We did some good execution,'' Washington said. ''So it worked out for us.''
Notes: Cruz was mired in a 5-for-33 slump with 11 strikeouts over 10 games before leading off the eight with a homer off Red Sox reliever Matt Albers. ... Cruz also had an impressive defensive play in the fourth when he reached back while sliding to catch Ross' flyball near the right-field line. ...Holland has allowed 16 homers this season. ... Both teams are off Thursday. The Red Sox then open a weekend series at the New York Yankees. The Rangers, who have won seven consecutive home series, stay home for a three-game set vs. the Chicago White Sox.