Holland lifts Rangers, deals Halos a WC blow

Holland lifts Rangers, deals Halos a WC blow

ANAHEIM -- Derek Holland's dominant return to the Rangers' rotation continued in Southern California on Saturday night, as the left-hander held the Angels to one run through eight innings to lead his team to a 2-1 victory.

With that, the Rangers (71-63) snapped the Halos' three-game winning streak, moved two games back of the first-place Astros in the American League West and maintained a 1 1/2-game lead on the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot. The Angels (68-67) fell to 3 1/2 games out of the postseason picture.

Holland gave up a first-inning triple to Mike Trout, who later scored on a groundout, but the Angels managed only two more hits in Holland's fifth start since returning from a left shoulder injury. Six days after shutting out the Orioles, the 28-year-old walked two and struck out five while lowering his ERA to 2.37.

The Rangers got on the board against Jered Weaver in the first inning on an RBI single by Adrian Beltre and didn't score again until Rougned Odor came through with a sac fly against Angels setup man Joe Smith in the eighth. Shawn Tolleson recorded his 29th save in the ninth by retiring Trout, Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron in order.

"We just have to take it one game at a time," Weaver said after pitching six innings of one-run ball. "I know it's kind of cliche, but that's all you can do is just go out there and play like we've been playing the last few days. We played well again tonight, just came up a little short. We just have to keep battling and try to keep ourselves in this as much as possible."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Holland shoulders load again: Holland missed four months of the 2015 season with a torn muscle in his left shoulder, but he looked as strong as ever on Saturday. The lefty followed up a 116-pitch outing in his previous start -- a three-hit, 11-strikeout shutout of the Orioles -- with 113 pitches at Angel Stadium, showing no signs of fatigue.

"Everything feels good," Holland said. "They asked me that right before I came back here off the DL -- 'Are you ready to go?' When you say you're ready to go, it means you're ready to go full steam." More >

Holland on dazzling outing

Out of reach: With one out and pinch-runner Ryan Strausborger on first base in the eighth inning, Rangers manager Jeff Banister put on the hit-and-run and Elvis Andrus hit a hard grounder to the right side. Second baseman Taylor Featherston, playing every day because of his defense, broke to cover second, then ranged back in an attempt to field the grounder and saw it roll under his glove, allowing Strausborger to reach third. The next batter, Odor, scored him with a sacrifice fly for the game-winning run.

"He broke, and I broke, going hard to the bag -- can't be late -- and Elvis hit a hard ground ball to my left," Featherston said. "I slammed on the brakes and tried to get to it; I just didn't catch it. Big inning in the game. It's a perfect double-play ball if he doesn't steal, but you can get the guy at first. Two outs is a different situation than first and third and one out. Joe did exactly what he needed to do, he got a ground ball, and unfortunately I couldn't come up with it."

Andrus' 8th-inning single

Texas strikes first: In the first inning, the Rangers worked two walks against Weaver -- who doesn't issue many free passes -- to jump out to their early lead. Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder reached on free passes with one out, and then Beltre jumped on one of Weaver's low-80s fastballs, the first pitch he saw, driving it to right field for an RBI single.

"That was one of the things that we talked about going into the game, trying to be patient off this guy and not giving in to his pitches off the plate," Banister said. "We were capable of drawing walks -- with Weaver, I'm not really sure that the pitch count is necessarily the issue, it's about staying on the ball."

Beltre's RBI single

Big plays: Kole Calhoun and Trout made some big plays for Weaver to start the sixth inning. Calhoun made a catch just before banging into the wall in right-field foul territory and Trout ran a long way to chase down a drive by Odor before crashing into the fence in center field. The two hadn't given Weaver much help before this start. On Aug. 25 in Detroit, they miscommunicated on a key fly ball. On Sunday in Cleveland, they each lost a ball in the sun.

"We were playing him pull," Trout said of Odor. "That was obviously a big part of the game. Once I got close to the wall, I had a chance to catch it and I caught it."

Trout's running catch

QUOTABLE
"Very impressive to get by that part of the lineup, and their big three, really. And you saw the velocity spike back up. So it was nice to see a fresh Tolleson out there." -- Banister, on Tolleson protecting a one-run lead in the ninth by going through Trout, Pujols and Cron

Tolleson preserves the win

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his first-inning triple, Trout became the second player in Major League history to reach 25-plus homers, five-plus triples and 10-plus stolen bases in four consecutive seasons. The only other player to do that was Willie Mays, who did it six straight years from 1955-60, according to STATS LLC. More >

Trout's 1st-inning triple

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: Right-hander Colby Lewis (14-7, 4.50 ERA) will go for a career-high 15th win when he starts Sunday's series finale at Angel Stadium at 2:35 p.m. PT. Lewis has lost his last two outings, though, having allowed 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings while walking six and striking out only three.

Angels: Lefty Hector Santiago (7-9, 3.37) opposes Lewis in hopes of finding the groove he carried through an All-Star first half. The 27-year-old has allowed 14 runs (12 earned) in 10 2/3 innings over his last three starts. Since the All-Star break, he has a 5.93 ERA, completing six innings in just two of nine starts.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com and David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.