ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers lefty Derek Holland didn't have the best start he could have Saturday, but it was a solid start. And unlike his two rehab starts with Triple-A Round Rock, it wasn't a loss.
Holland, who was credited with a no-decision, gave up three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts over six innings of work in the Rangers' 4-3 walk-off win over the Minnesota Twins that evened the three-game series at a game apiece.
"I just wanted to go out there and compete and win," Holland said. "That's my job every time I go out. Just throw strikes and give my team a chance to win."
There was nothing flashy about his performance, but he got the job done. He kept the Rangers in the game and gave them the opportunity for the extra-inning dramatics.
Holland had difficulty early on, allowing a hit and walk in the first before using a pickoff to help him get out of the inning. He ran into more trouble in the second when he gave up three hits -- two singles and a double -- to plate two Twins runs that could have been limited.
Trevor Plouffe hit a ball right back to Holland with runners on second and third with no outs. Holland put a glove on the ball, but he took his eye off it in hopes of getting Justin Morneau breaking home. The ball got past Holland and was gloved by Ian Kinsler, who made the throw to first for the out.
"That one inning, I got a couple of balls that got away from me," Holland said. "Especially that one that came right back to me. I should've had it, but I saw Morneau taking off and tried to get a head start on that and just didn't get the ball."
The next batter, Brian Dozier, drove in the second run of the game on a single, but from there, Holland settled down. He allowed just one hit through the next three innings before Minnesota left fielder Josh Willingham hit a solo shot to straight away center field. Holland followed up the home run with a ground out and strikeout to end his day.
"He got his rhythm down," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He started getting the ball down and started executing. Tonight, he had a good change up and that worked for him. You could see in the sixth inning he was getting the ball up and looking fatigued, but he battled for us."
Over his six innings, Holland threw 88 pitches, including 55 for strikes. The most he threw in his two rehab starts was 73 pitches. Despite the long layoff since his last major league start, Holland felt great afterward.
"I'm not tired at all," Holland said. "They probably just (took me out) as a precautionary thing. I thought I was going to get to go back out."
The left-hander was making his first start for the Rangers since June 5 at Oakland. Following that start, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with fatigue in his left shoulder that came about after losing 15 pounds in a span of 2 1/2 weeks due to a stomach ailment.
In his two rehab starts in Round Rock, Holland suffered two losses but threw the ball well. His last start saw him throw five scoreless frames before giving up three home runs in the sixth.