Derek Holland pitches out of (most) jams

ARLINGTON, Texas -- What pleased Derek Holland the most Thursday was that he was able to keep building his momentum from his previous four starts.

Despite putting at least one man on base in five of his seven innings (and two on in four of those), Holland pitched out of the jams. He felt the only really bad pitch he made was the home run ball to Matt LaPorta.

"That's my fault," Holland said. "I'm kicking myself for not shutting them down, keeping them down while I could."

The home run tied the score at two and Holland exited after seven innings. But the two runs allowed on seven hits with seven strikeouts was his fifth straight quality start. Holland is hoping that a consistent finish to the season will result in a solid postseason.

"I feel very confident," Holland said. "Even before, I thought everything was good it's just that the numbers didn't show it. Overall, location-wise and pitch selection, I think I'm doing a better job now. I'm happy with the way things are going."

Holland is 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his last three starts with 24 strikeouts and five walks. And what Thursday showed is that even when he didn't have his best stuff and was in trouble, he was able to limit the damage and pitch deep in the game.

"I thought Derek was pretty good, really," manager Ron Washington said. "He got into some trouble through the course of the ballgame, but he was able to pitch around it. He just got a ball up right were LaPorta was swinging and he hit it out. Other than that, he gave up seven innings and kept us in the ballgame."