Rangers manager Ron Washington credits Derek Holland's fortunes on the mound this season to the development of his changeup.
Holland pitched another gem on Wednesday night as Texas defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 at Miller Park.
Holland was quick to praise his defense on a night on which he scattered 10 hits in seven innings of one-run ball.
“Our defense was really on top of it; they’re making great plays,” Holland said. “Leonys [Martin] made an unbelievable throw into home plate and got a runner from scoring.”
“I did everything I could to keep the momentum on our side,” he said. “Offense did their part and defense, like I said, was making the plays for me.”
In the third inning, Aramis Ramirez lined a single to center field. Martin had the option of letting the run score and throwing to second to keep Ramirez from advancing. Instead, he decided to go to the plate. Somehow, catcher Geovany Soto managed to place the tag on the speedy Jean Segura before he could touch home.
Martin has quite an arm, according to Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler. “Probably one of the best in the game, if not the best,” he said. “He’s very gifted in that category.”
Soto also made a great play in the sixth. With the Brewers already on the board in the inning, Ramirez tried to advance from second to third on a pitch that got away from Soto. Soto ranged up the left-field line, snagged the ball and got Ramirez, who recently returned from a knee injury, at third for the first out of the inning.
“This was true all around -- nine guys doing every single thing to make this a win,” Holland said. “From all the small ball to everything -- defense, pitching, everything.”
Holland was no slouch himself, going at least seven innings for the sixth time in seven starts this season, striking out six and walking none while dropping his ERA to 2.54 on the season. While he allowed 10 hits, Holland enjoyed the efforts of a strong defense to get out of many innings unscathed.
“He scattered them well,” manager Ron Washington said. “They’re a good swinging club, they can swing the bat. They’re going to keep charging, and they’re going to get hits.
“The thing is, make pitches after that to get the outs you need ... and he certainly did.”
Washington said Holland had all his pitches going for him, but he credited his success this season to the development of his changeup.
“Nice pitch that he’s added to his pitches,” Washington said. “He was having a little problem with it last year, so he got it back. It’s a big pitch.
“He got [Yuniesky] Betancourt on it twice on pop-ups. He had [Ryan] Braun off balance on it a couple times. You know, it’s a good pitch.”