Derek Holland hurled seven strong innings of two-run ball and the Texas Rangers defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 6-2, Wednesday in the second installment of a three-game series.
Holland (11-6) scattered six hits and struck out four while walking one to improve to 4-0 over his last nine starts. The right-hander has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his last six outings.
"Derek set the tone," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his starter. "He was very good. He gave us exactly what we needed. As we go down the stretch, Derek is getting stronger."
Geovany Soto clubbed a two-run homer and Michael Young added an RBI and two runs scored for the Rangers, who hold a four-game lead atop the AL West over the Oakland A's, who lost earlier on Wednesday.
Alberto Callaspo belted a two-run homer to account for the Angels' offense, as they lost for just the second time in their last six games. They now sit 3 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot in the AL.
C.J. Wilson (12-10) was tagged for three runs on four hits and three walks in just 2 2/3 frame, dropping to 0-2 in five starts against the Rangers, whom he pitched with from 2005-11 while winning 31 games over the final two seasons.
"My two-seamer was running a lot and I feel behind in the count," Wilson admitted. "I still felt I had enough to go further in the game, but that was my fault. I can be my own worst enemy at times."
Wilson was knocked around early by his former club, as Ian Kinsler smacked a leadoff single in the third inning and scored when Elvis Andrus followed with a triple off the wall in right-center field.
Young then plated Andrus with a double into the gap in right-center field before moving to third on a groundout.
Mike Napoli delivered a two-out double two batters later to score Young and chase Wilson from the contest, as Jerome Williams entered from the bullpen and lined out Soto to end the third.
The Angels battled back in the fifth as Howie Kendrick stroked a leadoff double and Callaspo followed two batters later with a drive into the seats in left field to bring the Halos within 3-2.
Texas created some breathing room with a three-run eighth when Young led off with a single and came all the way around to score on Nelson Cruz's double off the wall in right-center field. Cruz was tagged out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.
Napoli worked a two-out walk and Soto followed with a blast over the wall in center field, providing the Rangers with a 6-2 lead.
Joe Nathan retired the Angels in order in the ninth to close out the victory.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's opener to be with his wife and newborn daughter in Kansas City. He finished 2-for-4 ... Andrus' triple was his career-high ninth of the season ... Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton sat out the game after leaving Tuesday's opener due to a sinus discomfort that was affecting his vision ... With his single in the first inning, Angels outfielder Mike Trout broke the franchise record for a rookie for total bases in a season with 284. Devon White held the previous record with 283 total bases in 1987.