ARLINGTON -- The night should have been all about Derek Holland.
That's what the Rangers were talking about immediately after their 6-0 victory over the Athletics on Thursday night, and designated hitter Michael Young said in a postgame television interview that Holland's ability to rebound from his last start was "huge."
Then, the Rangers had a team meeting, and club president Nolan Ryan told them that a fan had died as a result of injuries sustained in a fall from the left-field seats in the second inning.
"I don't know how many saw what happened, but we certainly knew about it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We just didn't know exactly what happened."
The Rangers found out afterward, and the clubhouse was closed to the media for the rest of the evening. Only Washington was made available to talk somberly about the Rangers' fourth straight victory and the brilliant performance by Holland.
"It was obvious, he was outstanding," Washington said. "He pounded the strike zone from the first pitch, and never looked back. He stayed focused."
Young hit a home run and scored his 959th run. That allowed him to set a new Rangers career record for most runs, passing Rafael Palmeiro. Josh Hamilton was 1-for-2 with four RBIs. He drove home a run in each of his four plate appearances.
In his last start, Holland had lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing five runs on four hits and two walks. He allowed four hits and two walks on Thursday night, but that was spread over nine innings, as he threw his second shutout of the season and third of his career. It was also the first shutout by a Rangers left-handed pitcher at the Ballpark since Kenny Rogers on May 3, 2004.
Holland allowed just two hits and a walk through eight innings. The Athletics were able to load the bases with two out in the ninth, but Holland -- down to his last batter of the night -- got Conor Jackson to fly out to end the game.
"He threw more curveballs than we saw in our reports," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Good changeup, really both sides of the plate. He was able to pitch in as a left-hander, and make right-handers aware of the inside. It opens up for balls away. His offspeed stuff, we were just in between. This was the first game in a while where I just didn't feel we were in it."
Holland outpitched former Rangers teammate Rich Harden, who allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks. He is now 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts for the Athletics, after missing the first three months of the season with a strained right shoulder.
"Rich was Rich," Washington said. "We made him get the ball up, and made him work hard. He certainly wasn't erratic, and it was a different Rich than what we saw last year. He competed hard."
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Ian Kinsler led off with a double. It was the fifth straight game that Kinsler has reached leading off the first inning. He went to third on Elvis Andrus' sacrifice bunt, and scored on Hamilton's grounder to short.
In the third, Andrus singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Hamilton's single. A double by Mitch Moreland and a single by Mike Napoli made it 3-0 in the fourth, and the Rangers added another run that inning on a sacrifice fly by Hamilton.
Young's home run gave the Rangers a 5-0 lead in the fifth, and Hamilton added another sacrifice fly in the sixth. The Rangers scored in five of their first six innings, and did not go down in order until the seventh.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.