Derek Holland struck out 10 over eight scoreless innings of four-hit ball, as the Texas Rangers blanked the Oakland Athletics, 4-0, Sunday in the rubber match of an important three-game series between the top two teams in the American League West.
Holland (9-6) held the A's to four singles and a pair of walks over his stellar performance to snap a three-start winless skid.
Mitch Moreland clubbed a two-run homer, Nelson Cruz added a solo shot, and Adrian Beltre collected two hits and an RBI for the Rangers, who took two of three from the AL West-leading A's to move within 2 1/2 games of the division lead.
The win was Texas manager Ron Washington's 582nd victory with the Rangers, moving him into sole possession of first place for the most in Rangers history.
"As a manager you only win because the players play well," Washington said of setting the record. "I'm only as good as they are."
Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (10-8) was tagged with the loss after yielding all four runs -- three earned -- on five hits and a walk while striking out seven over 6 2/3 innings.
Nate Freiman recorded two of the five hits for the Athletics, who wrapped up a 10-game homestand at 5-5.
"We need to get on a roll with (the offense) and then we can put this period past us," A's manager Bob Melvin remarked.
Griffin fanned the first two hitters he faced before Ian Kinsler lifted a fly ball to the warning track in left-center. Yoenis Cespedes was in perfect position to make the inning-ending grab, but the ball tipped off his glove, allowing Kinsler to cruise into second.
The miscue proved costly, as Beltre followed with a run-scoring single to left to make it 1-0.
Cruz led off the second with his 27th homer of the season before the Rangers tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh when Moreland followed Craig Gentry's two-out, infield single with a drive into the seats in right to make it 4-0.
Oakland threatened in the ninth against Texas closer Joe Nathan, as Josh Donaldson worked a leadoff walk and Cespedes followed with an infield single.
After pinch-hitter Brandon Moss' fielder's choice left runners on the corners, Nathan induced a game-ending double-play groundout from Alberto Callaspo to secure the victory.