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FLA@TEX: Hamilton homers twice, goes 3-for-5 in game

ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland struggled from the get-go, giving up five runs and getting only two outs in the Rangers' 9-5 loss on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark.

The first three Marlins to bat were on the basepaths when Hanley Ramirez stepped to the box. After getting to a 3-2 count, Holland hung a fastball over the middle, and Ramirez drove it the opposite way, and it just cleared the fence in right field for a grand slam.

"It was really weird, I thought that I was throwing the ball really well in the bullpen," Holland said. "I came out and just couldn't execute with my fastball. It was one of the weirdest feelings. The best way to describe it is I'm going to wash my hands and get ready for tomorrow."

After the Ramirez home run, Holland settled down a little bit, getting Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton out. Holland walked John Buck, and then Wes Helms doubled him home. Just that quickly, Holland's day was done.

"Obviously, I was very frustrated," said Holland. "You can't control those kind of things. If I'm not throwing strikes, [Rangers manager Ron Washington] made the obvious move, get someone in there who can."

Holland didn't leave the mound until reliever Tommy Hunter was almost entirely done with his trot from the home dugout to the mound. The conversation between Holland and Washington took on the tenor of a teacher scolding a pupil who was lackadaisical in their focus.

"My message to him was just that because they scored four runs, we weren't out of the ballgame," Washington said. "You have to still pitch and get outs. It's a lesson learned. That's all I told him."

Holland said much of the same things, and there was no lingering animosity between the two.

"I'm calm now. Obviously, when I came out of the game I was ready to break something," Holland said. "There's no doubt about it, I was very frustrated, but at the same time, I've got to be ready tomorrow."

Washington did not want to remove Holland that early unless he had to -- 8 1/3 innings of work will tax even the most rested of bullpens.

"When you have to get your starter out of the game in the first inning and only two outs, you know that there's damage being done," Washington said. "We tried to climb out of it, but we just couldn't get there."

Hunter came in and kept the game close, surrendering a run in the second on Yorvit Torrealba errors on back-to-back plays, and then another run in the sixth before exiting.

While Hunter's night amounted to a pedestrian two runs allowed on four hits in 4 2/3 innings, what was most important was that he held his own in his first outing of the season and saved the other bullpen arms from pitching more than they had to.

"It was big, we certainly needed [Hunter to keep it close]," Washington said. "He gave us an opportunity to not stretch anyone else out."

The Rangers rallied, scoring four unanswered runs between the third and fifth innings. Marlins manager Jack McKeon took starter Brad Hand out after giving up two walks in the fourth inning. Generally, an odd maneuver for a manager up by four runs, but McKeon felt he could not risk it.

"The fifth starter, we can't just keep using the whole dang bullpen or giving away games," McKeon said. "I'm not giving a game away, you saw me get Hand out of there. If you think I'm going to sit there and say, 'Oh, we're going to develop him?' I'm not. We're going to win. I'm not here to develop, I'm here to win."

The next reliever, Steve Cishek, came in and pitched 2 2/3 innings for his first Major League win.

The pitching woes conspired to waste a two-homer outing by Josh Hamilton.

While the reigning MVP has been hitting fairly well since returning from the disabled list in late May, he feels that he is just now getting back to where he would like to be.

"My biggest thing is using my back leg, my back side, I'm not doing that right now," Hamilton said. "I'm trying to get to the point where I carry over practice to the game."

He compared the games to a sort of Spring Training, and said that he's starting to feel more comfortable, which was evident by the fact that he hit home runs to both left and right field.

"The last two or three days, I've been taking some walks, feeling good," Hamilton said. "Just like I like to feel in Spring Training, toward the end. I'm starting to get back." Comments