Three in the first, three in the second, three in the third -- and then the Texas Rangers really got going.
By the time they stopped they had the biggest offensive night in baseball this season and accomplished a feat only done two other times in the last 111 years en route to a 20-6 defeat of the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
Texas became just the third team to put up at least three runs in each of the first five innings as the Rangers added five in the fourth and four in the fifth.
"The first five innings looked like a ZIP code, that will tell you how it went...33354," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think that's Florida...Fort Lauderdale."
It happened to Texas 20 years ago when the Oakland Athletics beat them 19-5. Philadelphia also did it against Pittsburgh way back in 1900 according to STATS LLC.
Ian Kinsler homered and drove in four runs as the Rangers pounded out the most runs and hits in the majors this season. Kinsler had four of the Rangers' 27 hits as Texas became the first team to score 20 runs since Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh 20-0 on April 22 last season.
"We came out with a lot of energy but you never expect to come out like this," said Michael Young, who had a homer and three RBIs. "We just had to stay the course. We don't rack our brains over things that go wrong. We think of things we can do well."
Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz also had four hits as all the Rangers starters had at least two except for third baseman Chris Davis, who was hitless in six at-bats.
"We caught some breaks. We've all been on the other end when you play games like this," Young said. "We have a lot of respect for them. They've always had a good team. I expect much better things from (the Twins Tuesday) night."
Derek Holland (9-4) easily set a career-high for victories, allowing an unearned run and five hits in six innings with four strikeouts to surpass his eight-win rookie season in 2009.
"The main thing is just throwing strikes and keeping momentum on our side," Holland said. "I wouldn't say it was easy at all. They were swinging the bats and putting balls in play. Our defense did a good job behind me. And I can't say enough about our offense."
Josh Hamilton and Endy Chavez also drove in three runs each to help the Rangers surpass Cleveland's output in a 19-1 blowout at Kansas City on May 16. Texas also passed the 25 hits that the Los Angeles Dodgers had against Minnesota on June 27.
Holland has pitched well, but he's had good luck this season. The Rangers put up 14 runs and 16 hits after only four innings against three pitchers.
"Everything went right for us tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Holland threw a heck of a game for six innings. We put some runs on the board and kept coming. Tonight we showed what we're about."
Texas has scored at least four runs in each of Holland's last 12 starts, with Holland going 6-3 with three no-decisions during that stretch.
Things were so one-sided that Michael Cuddyer moved from right field to the mound to pitch the eighth for the Twins. Cuddyer gave up a double to Napoli, a bloop single to Mitch Moreland, and walked Kinsler with one out to load the bases.
But Cuddyer retired Elvis Andrus on a fly ball and David Murphy on a pop-up for a scoreless inning.
The last Twins position player to pitch was outfielder John Moses against California on July 31, 1990.
Gardenhire said Cuddyer, who pitched in high school, has always wanted to get on the mound. Cuddyer has played every position in the majors except catcher and shortstop.
"I was excited, it was fun," Cuddyer said. "I'd been lobbying for years. The circumstances weren't fun, but it was fun being out there."
AL West-leading Texas has won 15 of 18 to open a four-game pad over Los Angeles, which was beaten by Cleveland 3-2 on Monday night.
Jason Kubel hit a 449-foot homer off Arthur Rhodes in the eighth for the Twins, who've lost six of nine.
Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn (7-7) was knocked around for nine runs -- six earned -- and 11 hits in 2 2-3 innings.
The Rangers jumped to a 3-0 first-inning lead a day after they were limited to four singles by Toronto's Brett Cecil in the Blue Jays' 3-0 victory on Sunday night.
Andrus reached on an infield single and scored on Hamilton's double. Young followed with his ninth homer into the right field seats on Blackburn's 1-0 pi
In the second, RBI doubles by Kinsler and Hamilton and Young's run-scoring single gave Holland a 6-0 pad, and Kinsler added a three-run blast in the third.
When Andrus followed with a single, Blackburn's shortest outing of the season was over, matching the most runs he's allowed in any of his 113 career starts.
Minnesota got on the board in the fourth with an unearned run aided by an error by Andrus at shortstop. After Alexi Casilla singled, Joe Mauer hit a sharp grounder that Holland gloved. Holland fired to second to start what appeared to be an easy double play, but the throw bounced off Andrus' glove.
Casilla scored on Cuddyer's double-play grounder, but the Rangers stretched their edge to 14-1 with a five-run fourth highlighted by Moreland's two-run double.
Notes: It was the 14th straight season in which a team has scored 20 runs in a game, according to STATS LLC. ... The Rangers rotation has been remarkably healthy, one reason the team has surged into the lead in the AL West. Texas already has three 10-game winners in the rotation, and the Rangers have used only six starters this season, tied for fewest in the majors. "That (good health for the starters) is the key right there," manager Ron Washington said. ...CF and leadoff man Ben Revere wasn't in the starting lineup after having played in 48 consecutive games since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on June 2. Jason Repko made his fourth start in CF and hit leadoff for the first time in 2011. Revere was 7-for-47 (.149) during a four-game series against Detroit, dropping his batting average to .249. ...The Rangers took batting practice in the indoor cages to avoid the 102-degree heat, but the Twins hit on the field, with the starters going first to get off the field as fast as possible.