ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland has learned plenty in his two-plus seasons in the major leagues and continues to absorb knowledge every time he takes the mound for the Texas Rangers.
The lesson for Monday turned out to be an easy one: How to pitch with a 17-run lead.
That's right -- a 17-run lead.
The Rangers' offense, shut out a night earlier, collected 22 hits over the first five innings, and Holland allowed only an unearned run over his six easiest innings of the season in a 20-6 laugher over the Minnesota Twins.
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"Everything went right for us tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Holland threw a good game for us for six innings and we put some runs on the board. We just kept coming."
Holland had an 18-1 lead when he started the sixth inning thanks to one of the most prolific offensive nights in club history.
The Rangers finished with 27 hits, most in the major leagues this season and the second-most in club history behind only the 29 they collected in their 30-3 victory over Baltimore on Aug. 22, 2007.
Seven batters collected at least three hits, setting a club record. Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli each had career-high-tying four-hit games.
The 20 runs are also a big-league high this season. Ian Kinsler had a team-high four RBIs, and Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Endy Chavez each had three RBIs.
The hits and runs came a game after Brett Cecil pitched a four-hit shutout in a 3-0 Toronto victory.
"You have to have a short memory in the game of baseball," Washington said. "Tonight they showed what it is all about."
The only time Holland (9-4) pitched without a lead was in the first, when he blew through the first three Twins hitters on nine pitches. The Rangers followed with three three-run innings against Nick Blackburn, and then scored five in the fourth and four in the fifth.
Hamilton got the parade started with an RBI double in the first, and Young followed with a two-run homer. Hamilton and Young delivered again in the second with an RBI double and an RBI single for a 6-0 lead after Chavez had scored an unearned run.
Kinsler added a three-run homer with two outs in the third. Mitch Moreland had an RBI double in the fourth, and Chavez collected a two-run single and Elvis Andrus had a two-run double in the fifth.
After failing to score in the sixth, Omar Quintanilla and Nelson Cruz drove in runs with a triple and a double with two outs in the seventh, just about the time Cleveland was rallying past the Angels to give the Rangers a four-game lead in the American League West.
Along the way, the Twins committed three errors, including a gaffe to start the third that extended the inning long enough for Kinsler's 16th homer.
"Ugly night," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Probably the worst I've ever had against me. Just not a good night at all."
Multiple misplayed balls also resulted in rally-extending hits.
Things got so bad for the Twins that they pitched Michael Cuddyer, who started the game at first base and had moved to right field became the first Minnesota position player to pitch since 1990.
Cuddyer, the lone Twins All-Star this year, allowed no runs.
"We really need pitching right now and we got blasted away," Gardenhire said. "I was scared to death using Cuddyer."
Holland needed 90 pitches to get through six innings.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760
22 Hits through five innings, the most in the majors since Toronto had 23 in 1978.
27 Total hits, the most in the majors this season and the second-most in Rangers history behind the record of 29.
5 Consecutive innings (1st-5th) in which the Rangers scored a total of 18 runs. They scored in six of eight innings.
8 Starters who had at least two hits. Chris Davis, who went 0 for 6, was the only starter without a hit, but he did score a run.
7 Rangers who had at least three hits, a club record. Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli each had four.
11 Extra-base hits: 8 doubles, 2 home runs and 1 triple