ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland continued his good stretch of pitching and Nelson Cruz delivered the big blow with a three-run home run in the third inning as the Rangers pounded the Kansas City Royals 7-2 on Friday night.
Holland rolls on: Holland is pitching as well as any No. 2 starter in the American League. He delivered another strong outing, giving up a run and striking out eight in seven innings. Holland has gone at least seven innings in seven of his 11 starts, one more time than ace Yu Darvish. Holland has gone at least seven or more innings and allowed two runs or fewer in six of his 11 starts. Holland upped his record to 5-2 on the season.
Cruz busts out: Cruz made it five straight games with an extra-base hit with a booming three-run home run off the Diamond Club window in left field. Cruz's 13th homer of the season traveled 419 feet and snapped a 1-1 tie. Cruz is snapping out of a mini-slump with nine hits in his past 26 at-bats.
Beltre can't miss: Third baseman Adrian Beltre had four more hits, including a home run, to boost his season average to .306 -- the first time it's been over .300 all season. Beltre was batting .214 at the start of the month and finished May with a .376 batting average (44-for-117) with six home runs and 23 RBIs. He had his fourth four-hit game of the month, which is a club record. He tied the team record for hits in May with Ruben Sierra, who had 44 hits in 1991. The last Rangers player to have more than 44 hits in a month was Josh Hamilton with 49 in June of 2010.
Martin just misses: Leonys Martin nearly hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, instead settling for a two-run double as the Rangers took a 6-2 lead. Martin also had his seventh stolen base in 12 games. He did make a mistake in the outfield when he threw to third base instead of second with one out in the third inning, and the Royals took a 1-0 lead. Holland was able to get two ground balls to get out of the inning.
Profar gets it: Jurickson Profar's six-game hitting streak came to an end, as he went 0-for-3 with a walk. Still, Profar had good at-bats. He saw 24 pitches in four plate appearances. Not bad for a 20-year-old.
Nathan back in action: Closer Joe Nathan ended the break he didn't want, pitching for the first time since Sunday. He needed 10 pitches to get Royals pinch hitter Mike Moustakas to ground out to second base. Nathan worked a 1-2-3 inning in a non-save situation.
Up next: The Rangers go for two wins in a row over the Royals when rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-4, 3.88 ERA) faces right-hander James Shields (2-6, 2.96) at 3:05 p.m. Saturday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM. The series concludes on Sunday afternoon when Rangers right-hander Darvish goes up against right-hander Ervin Santana (3-5, 3.33) at 2:05 p.m.