Derek Holland didn't want to take credit Tuesday night. He deflected praise to Texas' defense once, twice, three times, and didn't stop there.
It wasn't just a pitcher giving dues to his teammates. On a night when Holland shut down Seattle's lineup and Adrian Beltre drove in five runs, the Rangers defense came away with one impressive play after another in an 8-0 victory over the Mariners.
"I definitely owe it to them," Holland said.
Nomar Mazara, three games into his major league career, led the way with a pair of incredible catches in right field. The first was a diving grab in the corner to rob Chris Iannetta in the second inning on a ball that might have scored a runner from first if it dropped. Mazara's encore came the next inning when he sprinted to right-center to glove a flyball at the last second at the wall.
"We saw solid-average defense in spring training, but we've seen better-than-average defense thus far in the outfield," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "What we've seen is his ability to read the ball off the bat well, terrific angles thus far when he's on the run."
With the defense making plays, Holland (1-0) gave up only four hits in 6 2/3 innings, three of which were of the infield variety and the other a broken-bat blooper. The left-hander also struck out four and walked two.
Beltre provided Holland some breathing room when he golfed a third-inning homer that barely cleared the fence in left field. That made it 5-0, and Beltre added a two-run double in the seventh.
Mariners starter Wade Miley (0-1) gave up six earned runs on 10 hits and struck out seven in six innings.
The Mariners had only a pair of infield hits in the first four innings and finished with four hits for the game — all singles.
The Rangers duo of Andrew Faulkner and Phil Klein combined to pitch 2 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to back the strong start by Holland.
"We've got to find a way to get back on our game," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "It's the same team that played five, six days ago. I'm pretty sure our roster hasn't changed. We have to pick ourselves up. We have a lot of games left to play. It's a long season ahead."
Rangers: The Rangers could miss starting catcher Robinson Chirinos for up to three months, but his fill-ins so far look just fine. Holaday was the latest to impress with a pair of runs on Tuesday.
Mariners: Relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit is still listed as day to day with shoulder stiffness. He dealt with the same problem during spring training.
Bat Flies into Stands: Mariners first baseman Dae-Ho Lee shattered his bat on a fifth-inning single. The barrel, which sported a sharp end close to the handle, sailed into the stands over the third base dugout. No fans were injured.
Miley's Injury Scare: Miley stayed in the game despite colliding with catcher Chris Iannetta in the third inning. Iannetta waved off Miley as both charged a bunt attempt in front of the plate. Miley continued to sprint toward the ball and Iannetta's spikes caught his left ankle. Miley limped in front of the mound as a trainer attended to him, but he was deemed healthy enough after a couple test pitches.
Texas Rotation Rolling: The starters have a 2.05 ERA in the last five games for the Rangers with 27 strikeouts in 44 innings. The fantastic performances follow a tough first four games in which starters combined for a 6.31 ERA in 35 2/3 innings.
Rangers: A.J. Griffin tries to extend his successful return against the Mariners after sitting out two seasons due to Tommy John surgery. He won his first start this season.
Mariners: Taijuan Walker starts the series finale against Texas on Wednesday. The RHP is searching for his first win this season after taking a no-decision his first time out in the 2016 campaign.