With big lead, Derek Holland focuses

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland’s philosophy of pitching with a big lead is to ignore it.

“I don’t think about it,’’ Holland said. “I pitch like it's nothing-nothing. I always do it the same way no matter the situation. I take it inning by inning and try not to get ahead of myself.’’

Holland improved to 6-2 by holding Houston to six hits and three runs in 7 1/3 innings of an 8-3 Rangers victory Monday night at Rangers Ballpark.

The 24-year-old left-hander threw 113 pitches, 74 for strikes. He walked three and struck out four. Nine outs came on fly balls.

Holland helped get the Rangers off on the right foot in a stretch in which the team will play 16 of its next 19 at home.

His ERA before Monday in six previous starts at home was 6.68.

“I have a lot of room to improve,’’ Holland said. “I need to continue to locate my pitches and use my off-speed pitch more.’’

First baseman Mitch Moreland noticed good vibes from his pitcher from the start.

“It seemed like Derek was in control tonight from the first pitch,’’ Moreland said.