Texas left-hander Derek Holland was itching to get on the mound Saturday night after his start was pushed back four days.
Things didn’t go how he’d hoped.
The Rangers blew a four-run lead in a 6-5 loss to the Astros, who hit three home runs off Holland.
Carlos Lee and Justin Maxwell both connected for two-run homers, and Chris Snyder also went deep for the Astros, who evened the interleague series at 1-1.
After the game, Holland lamented his inability to take advantage of his early run support. Rangers manager Ron Washington said he was good for the first two innings before things went awry.
“Then all of a sudden he couldn’t get the ball to his arm side, which meant he had to come in the middle of the plate or inside and didn’t get there, and those right-handed batters just turned him around,” Washington said. “When the first two innings started I thought he was on his way to having a really good game, but it didn’t turn out to be the case.”
Holland (3-3) was done after five innings. He gave up five runs on five hits and three walks in his shortest start of the year. He also struck out six and walked three in the loss, his first since April 29 against Tampa Bay.
Holland’s previous start came May 10, but he pitched an inning of relief on Monday.
“(It’s frustrating), especially after waiting a whole week, and you get out there and you can barely get through five innings,” Holland said.
Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single to open the scoring, and David Murphy hit a three-run inside-the-park home run to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead in the third inning.
It was Murphy’s first career inside-the-park home run.
Snyder, who entered the game hitting .179, led off the bottom of the third inning with a solo blast to left field to get the Astros on the scoreboard.
It was Snyder’s second home run of the season.
Lee took Holland deep to left in the fourth for his fourth home run of the season, one that scored Maxwell to get the Astros within a run of the Rangers.
Maxwell’s second home run of the year, and first since his first at-bat as an Astro earlier this season, came with one on and two outs in the fifth inning to make it 5-4.
The Astros added an insurance run in the sixth when J.D. Martinez doubled and scored on a double by Travis Buck after a walk by Snyder.
“They earned the runs they got tonight,” Washington said of the Astros.
Houston starter Lucas Harrell (3-3) yielded five hits and four runs – one earned – in 5 2-3 innings.
Brett Myers allowed a single by Elvis Andrus with one out in the ninth, but Josh Hamilton grounded into a double play to end the game. Andrus got caught in a rundown after Hamilton’s grounder, and was out when Myers tagged his foot on a close play at second to earn his 10th save.
The Rangers took advantage of what became a forgettable third inning for Houston.
Harrell walked Elvis Andrus with one out, then watched as Andrus scored on Beltre’s single to left to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Jed Lowrie botched a forceout attempt at second, an error that allowed Michael Young to reach with two outs.
That set the stage for Murphy, whose line drive to deep right-center proved too much for Jordan Schafer and right fielder Justin Maxwell. Schafer tripped on a diving Maxwell before getting to the ball and making the throw to Jose Altuve as Murphy raced home. Murphy beat Altuve’s throw home to make it 4-0.
“I saw both guys dive, and when I it got past them I was probably halfway between first and second and knew I had a chance,” Murphy said. “I started running as fast as I could. I probably put it in overdrive a little too quickly because I ran out of gas at the end.”
It was the first inside-the-park homer for Murphy, the 23rd one in franchise history and the first for Texas since Craig Gentry did it at Seattle last Sept. 23.
Andrus hit a one-out triple and scored on a Josh Hamilton sacrifice fly to get the Ranges within 6-5 the seventh inning.
The Rangers had a chance to tie it in the eighth.
Michael Young singled off Astros reliever Wilton Lopez to start the inning. Lopez was replaced by Wesley Wright, who gave up a pinch-hit single to Brandon Snyder. Wright was relieved by Brandon Lyon, who retired Nelson Cruz before Mike Napoli grounded out, leaving runners at second and third.
Houston escaped the jam when Maxwell caught a fly ball by pinch-hitter Gentry.
“We still (were) within striking distance,” Washington said. “We had opportunities. We just didn’t cash it in.”
NOTES: Texas pitcher Robbie Ross has the most wins in the majors by a relief pitcher this season with five. … These teams wrap up the series on Sunday when Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis opposes Jordan Lyles. … Cruz has been experiencing tightness in his right quad for three games, but Washington said he was OK.
Tags: Holland gives up 3 homers in 6-5 loss to Astros