Derek Holland capped off a perfect month of May with a seven-inning performance to help the Texas Rangers take a 7-2 win over the Kansas City Royals to open a three-game set on Friday.
Holland (5-2) gave up two runs on eight hits and a walk with eight strikeouts as he finished the month with a 4-0 mark and Texas won all six of his starts. He gave up a total of 13 runs — 11 earned — over 39 innings in the month.
Nelson Cruz smacked a three-run home run while Adrian Beltre went 4-for-4 with a solo home run, two RBI and two runs scored for the Rangers, who have won two straight after dropping their previous three.
“That home run for Cruz gave us the lead and Holland kept throwing strikes all night,” said Beltre. “Both of those guys were terrific and helped us win a pretty easy game today.”
Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer each drove in a run for the Royals, who were coming off Thursday’s game against St. Louis that saw a 4 1/2-hour rain delay in the top of the ninth inning, a game that the team won, 4-2.
“Part of the reason we’ve been struggling is that we’re not tacking on those extra runs when we have the chance,” said Kansas City manager Ned Yost.
Wade Davis (3-5) gave up six runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts over five- plus innings to drop his third straight start.
The Royals worked a run across in the third inning. Adam Moore led off with a double and moved to third on Chris Getz’s infield single. After Alex Gordon struck out, Escobar roped a single to center for a 1-0 lead. Holland limited the damage by retiring the next two batters.
Texas, though, answered in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, David Murphy got on base with an infield single and Lance Berkman followed with a base hit. Beltre brought a run home with a single and Cruz then smacked his 13th home run of the season over the wall in left for a 4-1 lead.
Kansas City got a run back in the sixth thanks to Hosmer’s RBI single that scored Billy Butler to make it a 4-2 game.
The Rangers answered in the home sixth as Leonys Martin laced a two-run double off Bruce Chen to make it a 6-2 contest.
Beltre led off the seventh with his 11th home run of the season, a shot over the wall in left.
Tanner Scheppers pitched the eighth inning for Texas, while Joe Nathan finished off the game with a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the win