Holland has roughest outing yet for Rangers' rotation in clunker against Yankees

ARLINGTON -- It couldn't last 162 games. Derek Holland hoped to stretch it at least another day, though.

Holland didn't, and the Texas Rangers' rotation hit its first roadblock of the season on Monday night. Holland struggled with his command in the first inning and then unraveled some more in the fifth inning, as the New York Yankees pulled away for a 7-4 victory over the Rangers in Game 1 of a three-game series.

Holland allowed all seven runs, the most allowed by a Rangers starter this season and the most he's given up since July 20 last year when the Angels scored seven off him in 51/3 innings. A bigger concern might be the walks issued by Holland.

Holland finished with four walks and one strikeout. All four came on full counts, and he has now had three or more walks in three of his four starts.

"Just poor execution," Holland said. "I thought I had the right pitch selection, and couldn't get it where it needed to be. I was unfortunate with a couple of my pitches."

The Yankees grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first. With two on and one out, Holland walked Alex Rodriguez to load the bases. He struck out Mark Teixeira, but Curtis Granderson had a two-run single to center.

Holland settled down by throwing three scoreless innings before running into more trouble in the fifth. He started the inning by walking the Yankees' No. 9 hitter, catcher Chris Stewart.

"That was huge," Holland said. "I didn't give my teammates a chance to make a play."

It proved costly as the Yankees rallied.

Stewart moved to second on an error by Mike Napoli, then to third on a single by Derek Jeter and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Swisher.

After Robinson Cano singled, Rodriguez gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead with a three-run homer that landed in the visiting bullpen. Holland eventually got out of the inning, but the damage was done.

"Just a bad fifth inning where they put a crooked number up and that was the ballgame there," manager Ron Washington said. "If you hold that down to just a couple of runs it's a different ballgame, but it didn't work out that way."

Holland gave up another run in the sixth, but that extra inning saved the bullpen. Michael Young also gave Holland words of encouragement afterward.

"He battled," Young said. "They had some good at-bats and found a way to hit some tough pitches. He's getting to be a real professional, so he'll be ready to roll in his next start."

Mark Lowe came in and threw two perfect innings followed by a 1-2-3 ninth by Koji Uehara. Despite the lackluster start by Holland, the Rangers' silver lining was avoiding to use long reliever Scott Feldman, who is scheduled to make a spot start Wednesday.

"They did an outstanding job," Washington said of Lowe and Uehara.

Trailing 7-1, the Rangers got back in the game against Yankees starter CC Sabathia. Josh Hamilton launched a solo home run in the sixth, and Craig Gentry had a two-run double in the seventh to cut the deficit to 7-4.

Sabathia, though, worked a scoreless eighth, and Mariano Rivera closed it out in the ninth.

"If we can take back that fifth inning maybe it would've been a different ballgame," Washington said. "But tip your hat to Sabathia and give those hitters credit. We got beat."

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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