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TEX@SEA: Holland allows three runs over six innings

The Rangers are in a tight race with the Athletics in the American League West, but the Angels are trying to play the role of spoiler over the final three weeks of the season.

Texas trails Oakland by a half-game after losing Friday, 6-5. The Rangers will look to keep pace with the A's on Saturday night, with Derek Holland on the mound in the second game of a three-game series at Angel Stadium.

Holland is one win away from reaching 10 for the third straight season. In 28 starts this year, the left-hander has a career-best 3.07 ERA.

"He's got a better idea of what he's doing out there," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Although he's a better pitcher, you have to pitch like it. There are things he has to do that every pitcher has to do, and that's command the fastball."

Holland has struggled recently and is 1-3 with a 3.05 ERA over his last nine starts, including a loss in Oakland on Monday. He hasn't won since on Aug. 4. In his career against the Angels, Holland is 7-5 with a 5.61 ERA in 16 starts and three relief appearances.

The Angels had dropped seven straight games against the Rangers before Friday's victory. Still, Texas is 10-3 against Anaheim this season.

Garrett Richards will be looking to cut down on his walks Saturday in his 13th start of the season for the Angels. The right-hander has thrown 56 percent of his pitches for strikes over his last three starts, walking 12. But he's overcome his command issues and won two of those three starts, including Tuesday, when Richards walked seven at home against the Rays.

"He hung in there," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Never really got command of counts. His ball-strike ratio was very poor and his first-pitch-strike ratio was bad. Couldn't really get his secondary pitches into the game, but when it's all said and done, it's a win for us."

Richards has struggled in his career against Texas, with a 5.40 ERA in eight appearances (four starts).

Rangers: Andrus returns to lineup
Shortstop Elvis Andrus was back in the starting lineup on Friday after missing four straight games because of tightness in his lower back. Andrus batted second and finished 2-for-5 with a solo home run and two RBIs.

Andrus came out of Saturday's game against the Twins in the first inning after experiencing back spasms running from first base to third. He has dealt with back issues for much of the season, but mainly in his upper back. Still, he's been able to play 133 games this season, and is hitting .256 with 51 RBIs and 76 runs scored.

• Adrian Beltre is hitless in his last 13 at-bats, but the third baseman is tied for second in the Major Leagues with 174 hits. In his last seven games against the Angels, Beltre is 13-for-28 (.464) with three homers and nine RBIs.

Angels: Bourjos still bothered by right wrist
Peter Bourjos is 5-for-46 (.109) since coming off the disabled list, and Scioscia said the right wrist the center fielder fractured on June 29 is "still not 100 percent."

Bourjos has started two games since Aug. 29, and was not in the lineup on Friday. He's been limited to 55 games this season, hitting .274 with 12 RBIs and 26 runs scored. He missed 38 games earlier in the year with a left hamstring strain.

• Josh Hamilton is 31-for-93 (.333) over his last 26 games, raising his average from .217 to .238, a season high. Hamilton needs one more home run to become one of seven players with at least 20 homers and 25 doubles in each of the last four seasons (Miguel Cabrera, Beltre, Alfonso Soriano, David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano).

Worth noting
• The Rangers have won 14 of their last 20 road games since Aug. 2, and have the best road record in the AL this season at 41-31.

• Angels outfielder Mike Trout is 9-for-22 (.409) in his career against Holland, with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs. Trout leads the Majors with 176 hits this season. Comments