"It's pathetic," Holland said. "I'm very upset with myself. I'm supposed to be stepping up and I look like garbage out there."
The Rangers certainly had plenty of chances to put this game away. Instead, a walk and two errors in the bottom of the 10th inning brought home the winning run and snapped the Rangers' four-game winning streak. The Rangers still hold a 5 1/2-game lead over the Athletics and are up six on the third-place Angels in the American League West.
"A weird game," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "A lot of situations and a lot of chances to win, and we didn't take advantage of it."
Andrus was in the middle of most of those situations, either directly or indirectly. He was absent in the bottom of the 10th, having left the game one inning earlier with a sore right shoulder. Alberto Gonzalez took over and ended up playing a critical role in the outcome.
So did Michael Kirkman. He took the mound after Holland went six innings, Roy Oswalt pitched two scoreless and Robbie Ross went one. With the game into extra innings, Washington said he wanted Kirkman on the mound because he could pitch multiple innings.
"I'm looking for him to extend the game for us," Washington said.
Kirkman started the inning by walking Billy Butler, who was replaced by pinch-runner Eric Hosmer. Salvador Perez followed with a hard double-play grounder at Gonzalez, who fumbled it for an error. With runners at first and second, Jeff Francoeur then hit a grounder to third baseman Mike Olt and he threw wildly to second. The ball ended up in right field and Hosmer scored the winning run.
"It's an easy play ... it's a play I make 99 times out of 100," Olt said.
"We would have liked to have had a couple of situations back," second baseman Michael Young said. "We had good at-bats up and down the lineup. We wanted to keep the momentum going but they battled back. They fought and had some good at-bats after the sixth inning. They did a good job."
But the Rangers let this one get away long before that, beginning with Holland. The Rangers scored five runs for him in the fourth to take a 5-2 lead and he couldn't hold it. Instead he gave up runs in three straight innings. Francoeur hit a home run in the fourth, Butler drove home a run with a two-out single in the fifth and Brayan Pena put the Royals ahead with a two-run homer in the sixth.
"In my eyes it was pretty bad how I threw," Holland said. "I didn't give my team a chance to win. I was very disappointed with the way I pitched today."
The Rangers were able to tie it in the seventh. Olt opened the inning by drawing a walk and Andrus moved him to second with a single to left. Young followed with a high fly to right-center that fell in for a double. Olt scored but Andrus, running through third-base coach Dave Anderson's stop sign, was thrown out at the plate.
"I saw the stop sign late," said Andrus, who hurt his shoulder on that play and left the game in the ninth. "It was a little bit my fault for being too aggressive."
The Rangers ended up with just a one-run inning. They didn't get any in the ninth. Olt led off with a walk and then the Rangers tried a hit-and-run against reliever Greg Holland. Andrus missed the pitch, but Olt stole second and went to third when Perez's throw ended up in center field.
On a 2-1 pitch, Washington then called for the squeeze.
"We had a runner on third and a guy at the plate who can handle the bat," Washington said. "I wanted a run and the situation was perfect."
Greg Holland threw a slider low and outside in the dirt. Andrus couldn't get his bat on it and Olt was tagged out easily.
"I know it's a bad pitch but it's a squeeze," Washington said. "You got to get to that ball any way you can."
Said Andrus, "It was a tough pitch, a slider down and away. It bounced. I did everything possible. It wasn't a nice pitch to bunt."
The rally fizzled from there. The Rangers also had the bases loaded with one out in the 10th with Mitch Moreland batting against Greg Holland. Moreland smacked a line drive toward the left-side hole, but shortstop Alcides Escobar made a tremendous diving catch.
"I felt I was on the ball," Moreland said. "I hit it pretty good. I hit it hard and he made an unbelievable play."
"Escobar basically saved the game in the 10th," Greg Holland said. "I wanted to jump up and down and scream like a little kid."
Olt then struck out to end the inning. If the Rangers had scored that inning, Joe Nathan would have pitched the bottom of the 10th. Instead Washington went with Kirkman.
"The one Moreland hit, that was the one that hurt the most," Washington said. "We had our chances and we just didn't cash in."