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05/12/10 2:06 AM ET

AL West leaders resume rivalry after wild one

Derek Holland is young, he's confident and he believes he belongs in the big leagues.

The Rangers starter will get a chance to prove his worth on Wednesday against the A's. Oakland will counter with Gio Gonzalez.

Following Tuesday's 7-6 victory by the Athletics, Texas and Oakland are tied for first-place in the AL West.

"If we don't win the next two games, it's not going to be crushing blow," Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. "We were a resilient team last year, and we will bounce back."

The Rangers are counting on Holland's resilience. As a rookie last season, Holland went 8-13 with a 6.12 ERA. He appeared in 33 games and started 21. So far this season, he's 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Oklahoma.

Moreover, opposing batters are hitting .224 against Holland. He was the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for April and is walking tall this these days.

"He's had success; that does it to you," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He feels good about himself because he's pitched well and he has confidence."

As for Gonzalez, he pitched seven innings for the second time in three games in his last start, a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay. He was outpitched by Rays star David Price.

"You can never go out of this game negative. Price is a good pitcher; they're a good team," Gonzalez said. "They're in first place for a reason. The positive is, I made pitches I wanted to make. I made outs I wanted to make. I pitched into the seventh inning. I didn't give up."

Citing a new, slower pitching motion, Gonzalez has been able to throw deeper into games. He is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 9 2/3 innings in three appearances, one start, against the Rangers in his career, but he has yet to face Texas this season.

Holland has room for improvement. He was 1-6 with a 10.19 ERA in his last nine Major League starts. He was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in one start and two relief appearances against the Athletics last year.

"I'm looking forward to seeing his progress," Washington said.

Athletics: Save streak ends
Oakland entered Tuesday's game 7-for-7 in save chances this season and the only Major League team without a blown save. However, the team went 0-for-3 in save chances Tuesday night to become the first team with three blown saves in a game since the Angels accomplished the feat in 2008. ... The last team with three or more blown saves to win a game was the White Sox on Sept. 14, 1998, at Detroit, a 17-16 victory in 12 innings.

Rangers: Cruz returning in Toronto
Right fielder Nelson Cruz (right hamstring strain) is scheduled to return to the starting lineup on Friday, when the Rangers play the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. ... Right-handed pitcher Alexi Ogando was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City from Double-A Frisco. ... Elvis Andrus is riding an 11-game hitting streak.

Worth Noting
Michael Young drew a walk in his first plate appearance, and he has walked at least once in five of the last six games. He has seven of his 13 walks this season in the past six games. ... Oakland pitching retired 36 consecutive batters prior to Young's walk in the first inning and had pitched 13 consecutive hitless innings before Young's single in the third.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.