Derek Holland: 'This was just horrendous'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- One thing you get out of Derek Holland is the truth.

He didn't sugar coat Friday's brutal start against the Oakland Athletics that had the Texas Rangers playing comeback baseball once again.

"This was just horrendous," Holland said after a 9-8 loss to the A's.

Holland's third straight poor start -- he gave up two home runs and six runs in three innings -- had the Rangers down early for the fourth consecutive game. The Rangers eventually trailed 9-2 before the offense almost made a miraculous comeback with six runs in the bottom of the eighth.

The near rally made Holland feel even worse. This may have been a moral victory in some ways, fighting back in the late innings, but it didn't ease Holland's pain.

Asked what's gone wrong during a stretch in which he has given up 19 runs in 13 1/3 innings, Holland had a quick answer.

"What's been good?" Holland asked back. "Nothing really. I'm missing too much in the plate, I'm up in the zone. I haven't done my job. It's embarrassing. Those guys put up the runs they did today, we should have won."

Holland had his team down 3-0 in the top of the first, the one thing the Rangers didn't need after trailing all 27 innings while getting swept at home by Pittsburgh. The Rangers haven't led since Sunday in Anaheim.

Holland allowed the first two A's batters to get on base, and after getting Jed Lowrie to fly out, wasted a chance for a momentum out against A's cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes. Holland got ahead 0-2 on Cespedes, tried to go away with a fastball and instead had it leak over the plate. Cespedes hammered it to left-center field for a three-run home run.

Oakland's Josh Donaldson added a solo shot on a hanging curve ball in the top of the third for a 4-2 lead. Home runs are extra painful for the Rangers. They haven't hit one since Alex Rios' solo shot in the first inning on Sunday against the Angels. That's 44 innings if you're counting.

Holland finished his night by giving up singles to Nos. 8 and 9 hitters Derek Norris and Kurt Suzuki to start the fourth inning. He was relieved by Nick Tepesch, who made his second relief appearance of the season and allowed both runs to score on an RBI double by Donaldson to make it 6-2.

"Everything they hit was mistakes up," Holland said. "It was bad.

"My heads there. I'm taking the blame. I'm not putting excuses on any one else. This is my job. I didn't do it. I'm going to be ready for the next one. I can guarantee it."

Despite an awful night, Holland was steadfast when asked if the Rangers were letting the division and wild-card spots get away from them. They are 4 1/2 games behind Oakland in the American League West and a game ahead of Tampa Bay and 2 1/2 ahead of Cleveland for the two wild-card spots.

"We're in everything," Holland said. "If you guys want to rule us out, go ahead."