Derek Holland takes care of Hamilton, Angels

April, 5, 2013
4/05/13
5:42
PM CT
video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland wanted to talk about his team, his start and the Texas Rangers' late-inning rally after Friday's 3-2 victory in the home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

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Not about Josh Hamilton's homecoming.

Holland, who struck out Hamilton twice and got him to fly out, was asked two questions about his former teammate after the game. The first one he gave a pointed answer to about whether facing Hamilton was like facing any other hitter.

"I'm glad to finally get that over with," Holland said. "I'm tired of hearing about Josh. Let's worry about our team."

"Josh was great for us. He was awesome. He did his job for us. He's a helluva an athlete. He can carry a team by himself. But he's not here anymore. I have to go out there and treat him like another hitter, and I did a good job of that."

[+] EnlargeDerek Holland
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezDerek Holland gave the Rangers seven solid innings and made it clear he's ready to move on from the Josh Hamilton saga. "I'm tired of hearing about Josh. Let's worry about our team."
Holland promised during spring training that he would be a more focused pitcher, and he showed it by keeping the Rangers in Friday's game until the offense rallied in the seventh and eighth innings.

He gave the Rangers seven strong innings, allowing six hits -- one of them a home run to Chris Iannetta -- and one walk while striking out five.

Holland faced the minimum nine hitters from the fifth through seventh innings, getting a double play from Alberto Callaspo -- a hitter who has dominated him in the past -- to wipe out the only single he allowed.

Iannetta did get Holland in the third inning. Looking for a shutdown inning after the Rangers had taken a 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Holland gave up a game-tying home run to the Angels catcher.

"He looked like he as geared up for that pitch," Holland said. "I just missed a little bit. It was the right pitch, wrong location."

Holland struggled giving up key two-out hits last season (opponents hit .328 against him with runners in scoring position and two outs in 2012, seventh-highest in the AL), and it bit him again in the top of the fifth. Mike Trout, last year's AL Rookie of the Year and a player who has crushed Rangers pitching, connected for a screaming line drive off the left-field fence for a double to drive in Iannetta and give the Angels 2-1 lead.

But the inning could have been worse. The first two Angels reached on singles, but Callaspo was erased after a pickoff play led to a rundown between second and third.

"We got him sleeping out there," Holland said. "They got me with the one steal they had earlier in the game. Kinsler was on it. It was huge. It killed their momentum."

It was a day where a lot was going on -- the home opener, Hamilton back in the ballpark and 48,845 fans in the park. Holland was upbeat about keeping the Rangers within striking distance.

"It's huge. Like I've been preaching before and all time, it's being consistent," Holland said. "I feel like this is going to be a huge year for me. I feel very strong. If I keep doing what I did today and give us a chance to win, it will be a great season."

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182