The Texas Rangers entered Friday with a chance to set a franchise record for consecutive wins over the Los Angeles Angels. They left with a defeat that cost them first place.
They'll need Derek Holland to reverse his fortunes against the Angels on Saturday night for the Rangers to avoid losing their first series with Los Angeles this year.
Texas (80-60) held a one-half game edge in the AL West but now trails Oakland by the same margin after a 6-5 loss at Angel Stadium on Friday. The Rangers squandered a 3-0 lead after three innings and wasted a chance for a franchise-record eighth straight victory against Los Angeles.
Holland (9-7, 3.07 ERA) is 2-2 with a 6.50 ERA in seven starts versus the Angels since the start of last season, surrendering 11 home runs over 45 2-3 innings.
The left-hander has had a particularly tough time against Mike Trout, who is 9 for 22 (.409) off Holland with two homers, two doubles, and five walks. Trout also owns a .549 on-base percentage over his last 12 games and was 3 for 4 Friday.
Texas would love to see Holland cut down on walks after he issued a season high-tying five over 4 2-3 innings of a 4-2 loss at Oakland on Monday. He's averaging 5.16 walks per nine innings over his last five starts compared to a 2.97 rate on the season.
"Five walks is not acceptable," Holland said after allowing four runs and five hits to the Athletics. "There's no reason for it. I didn't execute my pitches. It was all around terrible by me."
Holland will look to keep Mark Trumbo in the yard after he connected for his 30th home run with a three-run shot Friday as the Angels (66-74) won for the 11th time in 14 games. Trumbo is the sixth player in franchise history with back-to-back 30 homer seasons and has taken Holland deep three times in 33 at-bats.
"Any time a team has beaten you up a little bit, that feeling can linger," Trumbo said of the Rangers, who have won 15 of the last 21 meetings, including seven of nine at Angel Stadium. "It feels good to get one back."
Los Angeles will turn to Garrett Richards, who is 3-2 with a 3.21 ERA in eight starts since becoming a full-time member of the Angels' rotation on July 27.
Like Holland, Richards (5-6, 4.06) also battled control issues his last time out. He recorded a victory despite issuing seven walks - tied for the second-most in baseball this year - over five innings while yielding two hits and a run in an 11-2 final over Tampa Bay on Monday.
Richards had walked a total of seven batters over his previous five outings.
"He never really got command of counts," manager Mike Scioscia said. "His ball-strike ratio was very poor and his first pitch strike ratio was bad. He couldn't really get his secondary pitches into the game - but when it's all said and done, it's a win for us, and hopefully he'll take that and learn for next time."
Richards hasn't recorded a decision in four career starts versus Texas while posting a 4.67 ERA. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of an 8-3 loss to the Rangers on Aug. 6.
Ian Kinsler was 2 for 5 Friday after going 4 for 26 over his previous six contests, but struck out to end the game with the tying run on first.