BOSTON -- Derek Holland strolled to the mound for the first inning, and the manual scoreboard in left field showed yet another early lead.
No one in the majors has had more run support than Holland -- more than seven runs per game -- and the lefty made a mental note not to waste it.
"I allowed some runs against the Angels and I knew I had to stay focused," Holland said, referencing a 9-8 loss in Anaheim way back on July 20.
He did. Holland was masterful, throwing all his pitches right where he wanted. He kept the vaunted Boston lineup down, allowing just two hits. No Red Sox batter even got into scoring position against Holland, who kept them off balance with nice off-speed stuff mixed around a fastball with life.
"He's got great stuff, and we've known that for years," said David Murphy, who had four of the Rangers' 13 hits. "We've just been waiting for him to be a little bit more consistent and use his stuff like he's capable of. We've seen that a lot this year, and we saw it tonight."
While it was two left-handed hitters who got the only hits off Holland, he didn't let those powerful bats do much damage. Jacoby Ellsbury had a leadoff single but was erased when he took off too soon and Holland got him caught in a rundown. It was Holland's fourth pickoff of the season. Adrian Gonzalez also had a single in the fourth. But combined, Ellsbury, Gonzalez and David Ortiz (left-handed hitting Carl Crawford didn't play because of illness) were 2-for-9 with a strikeout.
"I knew I had to do my part and make pitches and keep the momentum on our side," Holland said. "I give credit to my catchers. [Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba] have been keeping me focused and taking care of business. They've pounded it into me before, and now I'm getting it."
Holland also was quick to credit his defense. And he gave a thumbs-up to the training staff for his conditioning. While Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando look tired, Holland continues to eat up innings and is starting to settle in. He has thrown 172 1/3 innings this season, second most to C.J. Wilson on the staff.
"I feel like everything was working," Holland said. "The mix was good. This is a good lineup. It's a good team. They took care of us when they were at our place, and it was our job to make sure we came out on top of this one."