By Schuyler Dixon
ARLINGTON — Derek Holland kept control.
Mad about walks that cost him a win last weekend, Holland struck out eight with no bases on ball Thursday in the Texas Rangers’ 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.
“I’m not going to worry too much about a previous game,” Holland said. “My mentality is I want to be the starter and the closer. I always try to go out there and go as long as I can.”
Michael Young hit a two-run homer and had four RBIs for the Rangers. Holland (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. After two key walks that helped the Chicago White Sox rally for a 4-3 win in his first start, Holland (1-0) had a much sharper outing.
Following Ichiro Suzuki’s two-out single in the first, the only runner he allowed in a span of 14 batters was on a throwing error by second baseman Ian Kinsler the first error by the Texas infield this year after 108 clean chances.
Holland extended a scoreless streak by Texas starters to 22 2-3 innings before Alex Liddi’s RBI single in the sixth. Kyle Seager added a 438-foot homer into the right-field upper deck in the seventh, but Holland bounced back with a strikeout of Miguel Olivo and got a flyout from Casper Wells.
Already at 102 pitches after seven innings, Holland struck out Brendan Ryan starting the eighth, then allowed Chone Figgins’ double and was replaced after 115 pitches by Koji Uehara.
“When he got into the sixth inning, he started elevating his pitches,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He fought through the seventh, and it looked like he might get us three outs in the eighth but it didn’t work out.”
Young put Texas ahead with an RBI single in the first. Then with the Rangers leading 1-0 in the fifth inning for the third straight game, Young hit an opposite-field homer into the first row in right for a 3-0 lead against Jason Vargas (1-1). Young added a run-scoring single in the eighth off Erasmo Ramirez.
“All Michael does is hit,” said Washington, who moved Young up to second in the order from his usual No. 5 spot to give shortstop Elvis Andrus a day off. “I just happened to have him in the perfect spot hitting second, and he came through huge for us today.”
Kinsler had three hits for Texas, including a two-out RBI double in the seventh that gave the Rangers a 4-2 cushion with closer Joe Nathan unavailable after pitching on consecutive days.
“We definitely fed off Holland,” Young said. “Everything started to click offensively.”
Mike Adams filled in for Nathan, giving up Olivo’s two-out RBI double in the ninth before retiring Michael Saunders on a grounder for his second save with the Rangers and the fourth of his career.
Vargas retired nine in a row before faltering in the fifth. He allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk.
“Vargo was really good today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He was up a little bit early, but he found it. He gave us every opportunity to win.”
Seattle finally is headed home two months and a day after reporting to spring training in Arizona. Upon landing, the Mariners will have traveled more than 15,000 miles and started their regular season twice — first in Japan and then Oakland.
“You’d be lying if you said it wasn’t wearing on you a little bit,” said Ryan, who was benched for a game after a rough night in the series opener. “It’ll be nice to unpack.”