ARLINGTON – Derek Holland talked about the importance of stepping up before his start on Wednesday, and he lived up to his words.
Holland delivered a strong start, and the Texas Rangers caught a break on a wild pitch by Josh Beckett to pull away for a 5-3 victory at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rangers won the series, 2-1, and maintained a five-game lead over the Athletics and Angels in the American League West.
Holland went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. He improved to 7-5 on the season, and lowered his ERA to 4.74.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first, and Will Middlebrooks belted a solo home run in the fourth for a two-run lead.
The Rangers rallied for three runs in the fourth, though. David Murphy had an RBI double, moved to third on a single by Yorvit Torrealba and scored on a suicide squeeze by Craig Gentry. Torrealba went on to score, as Ian Kinsler’s popup dropped in shallow center field for a 3-2 lead.
The Red Sox tied it in the sixth on a solo home run by Dustin Pedroia off Holland. But the Rangers broke the 3-3 tie in the seventh inning.
Elvis Andrus reached with one out on a hit by pitch, and moved to third on a two-out single by Adrian Beltre. With Michael Young up, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett uncorked a wild pitch past catcher Kelly Shoppach that allowed Andrus to score.
Texas added an insurance run in the eighth when Nelson Cruz swatted a solo homer to right-center off Boston reliever Matt Albers.
Rangers closer Joe Nathan earned his 20th save with a perfect ninth.
-- Drew Davison