Holaday serves Rangers well behind the plate

Catcher hits home run against Indians, helps Lewis earn 5th win

Holaday serves Rangers well behind the plate

CLEVELAND -- The Rangers did not have one player in the top five at their position in the first Esurance MLB All-Star Game ballot update released on Tuesday. It's too bad they can't have all their catchers combined into one single candidacy.

Individually, they can't measure up to Salvador Perez of the Royals, but collectively, they have been as good as any group in the American League. Bryan Holaday started on Tuesday for the third straight game and played a pivotal role in the Rangers' 7-3 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.

Holaday, besides navigating another victory behind the plate for starter Colby Lewis, now 5-0, belted a two-run homer in the third inning off Indians starter Corey Kluber and a leadoff single in a three-run eighth.

The Rangers have won four straight and seven of their last eight with Holaday behind the plate. He is also hitting .275 with eight extra-base hits, including two homers, and nine RBIs in his last 10 games.

Holaday on solid team win

"I just go out there and play the game, and have fun," Holaday said. "If I come to the ballpark and not playing, I'm still going to prepare to help my team win. If I'm in the lineup, same thing."

Holaday is splitting time with Bobby Wilson while Robinson Chirinos is on the disabled list. Chirinos is due to come off the disabled list on June 9, but if so, he will break up a productive duo.

Wilson just had three straight games off after a heavy workload in May, but it wasn't from a lack of production. He has 10 hits in his last 19 at-bats and hit .353 in May, the sixth-highest average among American League qualifiers.

"We have confidence in both our guys," manager Jeff Banister said. "It's been really nice. We needed that when Chirinos went down, we needed those guys to step up."

It's an unusual arrangement because they were traded for each other. Wilson was sent to Detroit at the end of Spring Training in a trade for Holaday, then reacquired on May 3 for Minor League pitcher Chad Bell.

The Rangers have used four catchers this season, including Chirinos and Brett Nicholas, and they have combined to hit .287 with seven home runs, 30 RBIs and a .494 slugging percentage. The batting average and slugging percentage are both the highest for a team's catchers in the AL.

"There's not much to say," Holaday said. "It feels great to have all that production. But it's like Bobby and I say over and over again, working with pitchers is most important. Anything offensively is a bonus. That's how we see it."

The pitchers don't seem to mind the catching rotation.

"I feel Doc and Willie, they have done a great job," Lewis said. "They do put in the time studying hitters and it makes us more prepared on the mound. It doesn't matter who is playing, they are both getting it done."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.