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Holland Tosses 5-Hitter in Seattle

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Derek Holland was more satisfied with how he finished than his perfect start against the Seattle Mariners.

    Holland, the Texas Rangers 25-year-old left-hander, was perfect for the first five innings and finished with a five-hitter as the Rangers rolled to a 5-0 decision for their eighth straight victory.

    It was Holland's fourth career complete game -- all shutouts -- his third this season and second straight. He went the route in his previous outing July 7 against Oakland, a 6-0 decision.

    He is the first Ranger to throw back-to-back shutouts since Charlie Hough had three straight Aug. 28-Sept. 7, 1983, two years before Holland was born. The last Ranger lefty to have successive shutouts was Jim Umbarger (May 23 and 28, 1976).

    Holland (8-4), who matched his career high for wins, retired the first 15 batters until walking Franklin Gutierrez on a 3-2 pitch to open the sixth. He then lost his no-hitter when the next batter, Chone Figgins slashed a single to right.

    "I just got caught looking at the scoreboard at the wrong time," Holland said. "I got a reminder when I walked that guy and the crowd started cheering. I knew I needed to bear down. I gave up the perfect game but had to keep going from there."

    He retired the next three batters to end the threat. He gave up a pair of singles in both the seventh and ninth but also settled down and kept the Mariners off the board.

    "That's huge for me, part of the maturing process," Holland said. "It was starting to build right there but I made my pitches where I needed to do and the defense was making the plays. I'm sure everyone else saw it (coming), but I got out of it. Seventh and ninth, too."

    Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz each homered for Texas.

    Jason Vargas (6-7) went six innings for Seattle, allowing five runs, a season-high 12 hits.

    "Really the story was their guy (Holland) and the way he pitched," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said, "and what we did not do against him."

    Holland threw just 54 pitches in the first five innings and the closest the Mariners came to a hit was Ichiro Suzuki's slow-hit bouncer to second baseman Ian Kinsler in the fourth. Kinsler raced to his left and had time only to slap the ball with his glove to first baseman Mike Napoli to beat Suzuki by a half step.

    Miguel Olivo had two of the Mariners four hits.

    The Mariners have lost six straight to fall 8½ games behind the AL West-leading Rangers.

    "That's two in a row throwing the ball the way we know he's capable of throwing," Rangers Manager Ron Washington said. "He had his breaking ball, he moved it around, he elevated, he threw down, he moved their feet. He pitched very well tonight.

    "He was in attack mode. That's where he has to be. He has to attack with quality strikes, not just throwing the ball over the plate."

    Hamilton got it started in the first, hitting a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his 12th home run. Since May 23 when he came off the disabled list, Hamilton has a major league-leading 43 RBI.

    Cruz hit a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall in the second for his 21st home run. Right fielder Suzuki appeared to have a chance of catching it, but hit his back on the wall to curtail his jump.

    Cruz also came off the DL May 23 and has the second-most RBI (38) in the majors since then.

    "We finished first half strong. It's good to start second half the way we started today," Cruz said. "The way Holland threw is amazing. It look like he doesn't need that many runs for support."

    Michael Young knocked in his 60th run in the third, a two-out single to right scoring Elvis Andrus from second.

    Napoli connected on his 13th home run, hitting a 1-0 pitch into the right-center bleachers in the fifth. Napoli has nine hits in his 23 at-bats (.391) since coming off the DL July 4.

    Andrus added an RBI single later in the inning.

    NOTES: The Rangers relievers struggled for much of the first half but Manager Ron Washington believes the bullpen is turning the corner. "The way they are pitching right now, it definitely can be an asset," he said. "Mark Lowe caused that. Tommy Hunter caused that." ... Mariners manager Eric Wedge addressed the players before the game, telling them, "expect a lot of yourselves, expect good things to happen." He said the primary goal in the second half "is a more consistent ballclub. It's a process. It takes time."