ARLINGTON – Derek Holland couldn’t lock down a four-run lead in his last start against Houston. He had no trouble making a lead that kept growing, from six to eight to 13 at its peak, stand against Toronto on Friday night.
Holland turned in his best pitching performance and was backed by plenty of offensive support, including an eight-RBI night by Nelson Cruz, as the Texas Rangers routed the Blue Jays, 14-3, in a three-game series opener at Rangers Ballpark.
Holland went 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and a season-high nine strikeouts.
The Rangers’ offense came alive in the first, knocking out Brandon Morrow before he could get through it.
Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus drew walks to start the game, and Adrian Beltre, Cruz and Mitch Moreland followed with run-scoring hits as Texas grabbed a 6-0 lead.
The Rangers added single runs in the second and third with solo home runs by Josh Hamilton and Yorvit Torrealba. It was Hamilton’s American League-leading 19th blast, and Torrealba’s first.
The Rangers cushioned their lead with two runs in the sixth with RBI singles by Cruz and Moreland. In the seventh, Cruz belted an opposite field grand slam off Blue Jays reliever Jason Frasor.
The eight RBIs matched Cruz’s career-high, as he did it on July 22, 2011 against Toronto. It ties Hamilton for the most RBIs in a game this season. Hamilton had eight during his four home run game against Baltimore earlier this month.
Toronto had catcher Jeff Mathis pitch the eighth.
-- Drew Davison