Holland makes his first '14 home start a memorable one

Lefty deals seven shutout innings, gets interim manager Bogar first win

Holland makes his first '14 home start a memorable one

ARLINGTON -- Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar was willing to answer the "what if" question. What if Derek Holland had been pitching like this all season?

"We'd probably be way better off," Bogar said after claiming his first victory as a manager in a 1-0 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

Holland declined to play the what-if game.

"I don't think about it," Holland said. "It's over. I've turned the page. I want to continue to build on this and finish strong in 2015."

Regardless of what might have happened this season, Holland is giving the Rangers something to finally look forward to for next year.

Holland threw seven scoreless innings in his second start since recovering from offseason knee surgery and the Rangers were able to snap their eight-game losing streak. The victory was Holland's first since Sept. 23, 2013.

"It means a lot, especially getting [Bogar] his first win," Holland said. "This was a team win, everybody giving their best effort to get that first win for [Bogar]."

Holland allowed six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five over 93 pitches. The Mariners were 1-for-7 off him with runners in scoring position. The only hit came because of Holland's defensive mishap. He allowed one run in seven innings in his first start against the Royals on Tuesday.

"I'm always hard on myself, but I definitely feel I could go longer," Holland said. "I feel I still need to improve. I was efficient at first and kept my pitch count down for the most part, but some long innings got to me in the end."

What he did was enough for Bogar.

"He really pitched well today," Bogar said. "I told him after the second inning he didn't have to keep giving the leadoff hitter a base hit but he threw very well. Derek did exactly what we need. He goes out there with intensity. … Two outings, only one run, he has been unbelievable."

This was the Rangers' fifth 1-0 victory of the season and their 17th team shutout, second only to the Rays in the American League. Holland has gone two straight games without walk. This is only the third time in club history a pitcher has gone at least seven innings in back-to-back games, allowed one or fewer runs and not walked a batter.

"When we had those opportunities to get those runs, he really bore down and made some really good pitches in some tough situations," Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson said. "He was pounding the strike zone with the fastball, using that slider to put guys away and the times we had to kind of get something going, he made some pretty tough pitches."

The Rangers got Holland a run in the sixth inning against Mariners starter James Paxton as Leonys Martin led off with a single and stole second. Daniel Robertson's grounder moved Martin to third. After Adam Rosales drew a walk, Adrian Beltre put the Rangers ahead with a sacrifice fly to center.

Holland was then able to hold off the Mariners in the seventh. Robinson Cano led off with an infield single. Holland struck out Kendrys Morales and retired Kyle Seager on a flyout. A passed ball moved Cano to second with Corey Hart at the plate.

Hart hit a little roller that died to the left of the mound. Holland got to it but slipped and fell as he tried to throw to first. That was the play the Rangers were concerned about with his surgically repaired knee and Hart was safe at first.

The Rangers checked on Holland and he was fine.

"I got over there aggressively but didn't keep my body under control," Holland said.

With runners on the corners, Holland waged a nine-pitch battle with Stefen Romero before getting him on a grounder to third.

That was it for Holland. Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless eighth and then closer Neftali Feliz took over in the ninth.

Feliz, who came out throwing nothing but fastballs, got Cano on a grounder but walked Morales and gave up a single to Seager, moving pinch-runner Danny Farquhar to third.

"I felt great, I was just trying to throw the ball down," Feliz said. "Keep the ball down, get a ground ball, get the double play."

The fastballs kept coming as Feliz retired James Jones on a popout that held the runner at third and pinch-hitter Justin Smoak on a fly ball to end the game.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.