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TEX@BOS: Holland hurls seven shutout frames

BOSTON -- The Rangers' pitching staff tied a club record with its 17th shutout on Friday night, and Derek Holland is headed toward his own record that any pitcher would love to have.

The Rangers continue to score runs for Holland at a record-setting pace. They scored six in the first two innings against Red Sox starter Andrew Miller and went on to a 10-0 victory.

The Rangers are now averaging 7.52 runs per nine innings when Holland is on the mound. That leads the Majors and is now just ahead of the club record set by Aaron Sele in 1999, when he received 7.46 runs per nine innings.

"It's something to be thankful ... [for by] being blessed with that run support," Holland said. "But I still have to go out there and make pitches and keep the momentum on our side."

The win, coupled with the Angels' 13-5 loss to the Twins, gives the Rangers a 4 1/2-game lead atop the American League West.

Holland (13-5, 4.13 ERA) allowed just two singles, did not walk a batter and struck out six while tossing 98 pitches. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the first inning with a single, but Holland then picked him off first base. The only other hit was a single by Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth.

"He did a great job. ... Run support or no run support," said outfielder David Murphy, who contributed four hits to the Holland run-support fund.

"Just mainly fastballs," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Good life on his fastball, and he commanded it and elevated it. The occasional breaking ball ... but really his fastball and he just kind of overwhelmed us with it tonight."

Holland threw 98 pitches and had a shot at a league-leading fifth shutout. But manager Ron Washington made it clear that he's not going to push his young pitchers this late in the season, especially when sitting on a 10-run lead. The two hits were the fewest given up by the Rangers this year, and they did it against the team that is leading the league in hitting.

"Outstanding performance by Derek," Washington said. "He moved the ball around, and that's what you have to do against this ballclub. Against that team, you have to execute pitches, and we did that. Once they get to swinging the bat, they are tough to stop."

The shutout was the Rangers' 17th this season, tying a club record set in 1977. Merkin Valdez pitched the eighth and Michael Gonzalez pitched the ninth in allowing them to be a part of history in their first appearance as Rangers.

"There you go. ... That's a good start," Gonzalez said.

The shutout was also the Rangers' 12th on the road, the most by an AL team since the Angels in 1989. Holland has been the starter in six of the Rangers' 17 shutouts.

"He's a special pitcher, a special left-hander," Red Sox outfielder Conor Jackson said. "When you have a lefty throwing 96, 97 right out of the chute -- and consistently staying at that -- that's good stuff. You don't see 96, 97 from a lefty that often. Moving it in, moving it out, relying on his fastball, he was getting ahead."

Leonys Martin also made his first appearance for the Rangers. Both teams made a number of substitutions after the Rangers took a 10-0 lead in the fifth inning, and Martin singled off Tim Wakefield in the seventh for his first Major League hit in his first at-bat.

The Rangers had 13 hits on the night. The big one was a three-run home run by Ian Kinsler in the second. Kinsler's home run, his third in three straight at-bats going back to Thursday, helped the Rangers take a 6-0 lead off Miller.

Miller couldn't get through the second inning after throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a victory over the Rangers on Aug. 25. His biggest problem was four walks, including one with the bases loaded.

"We obviously swung the bats better, but a lot of it is what he did," Kinsler said. "We were able to get ahead in the counts and he was behind a lot. It's a different game when you're ahead in hitters' counts."

Elvis Andrus and Murphy both hit home runs in the fifth inning. Andrus was 2-for-2 with two walks and four runs scored. Murphy was 4-for-5 and is now 14-for-28 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games.

"Everything went well for us tonight," Washington said. Comments