ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers’ chances of contending for a postseason berth will improve if Derek Holland delivers more pitching performances like Wednesday’s.
Holland won in his return from a four-month stint on the disabled list, and Texas hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning as the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 7-2.
The Rangers completed a 5-1 homestand and have won 12 of their last 16 games.
Holland (1-1) scattered eight hits, struck out six and walked none over 6 1-3 innings. He was activated from the DL on Wednesday following a shoulder injury suffered in his season debut on April 10.
“These guys have been playing their tails off this whole year, and I haven’t been able to help out,” Holland said. “So, I’m just glad to be part of this.”
Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus each had three RBIs and hit homers that sandwiched Mike Napoli’s 446-foot blast to center off Joe Beimel. It was the eighth time in franchise history that batters hit three consecutive homers. Napoli’s homer was the 200th of his career.
Seattle left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-6) allowed three runs and five base runners in the first, but shut out Texas over the next five innings.
Holland, 28, resembled the pitcher who compiled a 3-0 postseason record for Texas in its pennant winning years of 2010-11. In 2014, he suffered a knee injury in January that limited him to six September appearances, five starts, during which he compiled a 1.46 ERA.
Holland started the Rangers’ home opener this season against Houston. He gave up one run on two hits in the first inning and then exited with a torn shoulder muscle after nine pitches.
“This is a guy who’s been on a mission since the last time we saw him,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he was surprised by Holland’s effectiveness in his first major league start since April.
“He came right out of the gate, throwing 92, 93,” McClendon said. “He’s a big-game pitcher. He had his A-game today.”
Holland threw scoreless ball until Mark Trumbo hit his 15th homer of the season — his sixth since joining Seattle — in the fifth. The Mariners loaded the bases on three straight singles in the sixth but scored just one run.
Rangers center fielder Delino DeShields, a converted infielder, made two standout defense plays behind Holland. DeShields made a running catch at the warning track to rob Nelson Cruz of an extra-base hit in the fourth inning. In the seventh, he threw out Jesus Montero at home trying to score the tying run.
“His arm has gotten better,” Banister said of DeShields. “But more than anything, the accuracy has really come into play.”
OF Josh Hamilton missed his fourth consecutive game with a sore left knee and said he wasn’t sure he would be able to play Thursday at Detroit. Hamilton said he hopes he isn’t put on the disabled list. “What if I go on the DL and three days from now my knee pops and, damn, it feels good?” he asked.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left middle finger) is scheduled for light throwing Friday and could begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday. Paxton last pitched in late May.
Rangers: Banister said closer Shawn Tolleson recently hurt his right foot stepping on first base but X-rays showed no damage.
Mariners: Seattle will be off Thursday, its third day off in the past 15 days. The Mariners will open a six-game homestand on Friday against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Felix Hernandez (14-7) is scheduled to pitch against LHP Chris Sale (11-7).
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (1-2) has made six starts since being activated after the All-Star break following Tommy John surgery last year. His performance has been erratic — he allowed eight earned runs in one inning against the Yankees, but has also taken a shutout into the ninth against the Giants.