ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland didn't want to repeat exactly what he told himself after Austin Jackson's lead-off home run on a hanging slider and Omar Infante's single got the first inning off to a rough start and put the Rangers behind 1-0.
Holland didn't think the language would be suitable for children.
"I was very upset with myself," he said. "Going into the game, as I was walking in from the bullpen, I felt like I had everything I needed today. One pitch got away from me. This is a good ballclub we're going up against. They have a lineup that can match up with us. I left a pitch for Jackson to hit and he took care of it. I took care of what I needed to do.
"I got pissed at myself and I made the adjustment and it worked from there. I kept my cool. I didn't get as pissed as I normally would and kind of pace around. I gathered myself, slowed everything down, told myself, 'Hey, that's one, don't worry about it. Let's keep plugging away.' I did."
Holland certainly made an adjustment. After surrendering the run on two hits to start the game, Holland retired 22 of the next 24 batters he faced, nine of those on strikeouts to tie a season high. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, tying his deepest outing of 2012. The very difficult middle of the Tigers' order -- Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young -- went 0-for-8 with a walk and three strikeouts against Holland. Holland had his sinker, slider and changeup working and was in full command. In the process, he matched 2011 AL Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander, who gave up one run in seven innings.
Holland retired the final 10 batters he faced, and left-handed hitters were 0-for-6 off him. Since he's returned from the disabled list, lefties are hitting just .163 (7-for-43) with one extra-base hit off him in seven starts.
The key now is for Holland to use this start as a springboard to returning to his dominant form from the second half of 2011. Saturday was as close as Holland has been to the guy that pitched a masterpiece in Game 4 of the World Series.
"He stood up for us tonight. We needed him to and he did," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I think Derek made the turn. He made the turn. He was competing hard, he did what he had to do. I hated to go get him in that seventh inning, but one swing by Gerald Laird could have made everything he'd done just fall apart. So I brought in Ogando."
Washington lingered at the mound before signaling for Alexi Ogando, but the skipper said he'd already made up his mind to switch pitchers.
"Because of what he did tonight, I felt he needed some respect so I talked to him a little bit and told him how proud I was of him and what he did out there," Washington said.