Arlington, TX – Alex Rios hit for the cycle to support Derek Holland's seventh career shutout, with the duo leading the Texas Rangers to an easy 12-0 triumph over the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game series.
Rios finished 4-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored to lead a 14-hit Texas onslaught, becoming the seventh Ranger to record a cycle and first since Adrian Beltre against Minnesota on Aug. 24, 2012.
"The most important thing is that we won tonight," Rios said.
Elvis Andrus added three hits and an RBI, while Leonys Martin socked a three- run double to help Texas snap a seven-game home losing streak and deal the hapless Astros a 10th consecutive defeat.
The win also closed the Rangers within a game of Cleveland for the second wild card spot in the American League.
Holland (10-9) halted a career-long eight-start winless drought by scattering six singles and a walk while striking out nine. The lefty received plenty of help from a lineup that battered Jordan Lyles (7-9) for seven runs and seven hits in the Astros starter's three-inning stint.
"They took it to us," Houston manager Bo Porter said.
The loss was the 106th of the season for Houston, one shy of matching the club record set a year ago.
Texas scored in each of the first four innings to give Holland a comfortable early lead, with Ian Kinsler and Andrus delivering back-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the first before Rios sent both home with a double down the left-field line.
Kinsler extended the margin to 3-0 with a two-out double in the second that plated Craig Gentry, who had drawn a walk against Lyles to lead off the Rangers' portion of the frame.
Lyles got himself into even greater trouble an inning later. He issued two more walks, the last a bases-loaded free pass to David Murphy, in front of Martin's game-breaking double to deep center that put the Rangers up by a 7-0 count.
Kinsler reached second on an error to open the bottom of the fourth and came around on an Andrus single for another run, with Rios making it a 9-0 game shortly afterward by clobbering a David Martinez changeup for his 18th homer of the year.
The Astros, meanwhile, mounted little offense against Holland, failing to record an extra-base hit and getting a runner to second base only once over the course of the night. That came when Trevor Crowe and Carlos Corporan started the third with consecutive singles before both were left stranded.
Rios completed his first career cycle by legging out a triple into the gap in right center that brought in Andrus, who had reached on his third single of the night. Rios soon scored on a Beltre sac fly for an 11-0 advantage, and A.J. Pierzynski doubled later in the inning before crossing the plate on Mitch Moreland's fly ball.
The Rangers have now won nine straight against Houston and own a 15-2 advantage in this year's series, tied for their most wins over a single opponent in a season (Seattle, 2011) ... Holland notched his first win at Rangers Ballpark since May 31, having gone 0-5 with a 4.53 ERA in nine starts between home victories, and became the first Texas lefty to post double-digit wins in three straight seasons since Kenny Rogers from 1993-95 ... Houston's Brandon Barnes was the most recent player to hit for the cycle, doing so against Seattle on July 19 ... Astros outfielder L.J. Hoes had a nine-game hit streak snapped after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.