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WORLD SERIES REPORT

Rangers starter Derek Holland gives bullpen some relief

His eight-plus innings spark the Texas Rangers to a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and allow his team's relievers to get some rest.

October 23, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland gave up only two hits to the Cardinals in Game 4, striking out seven and walking two.
Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland gave up only two hits to the Cardinals… (Tony Gutierrez / Getty Images )

Reporting from Arlington, TexasDerek Holland's brilliant outing Sunday in Game 4 of the World Series couldn't have come at a better time for the Rangers' battered bullpen.

Texas' relievers shouldered a huge burden in the American League playoffs, pitching more than 42 of the Rangers' 92 innings in the division and league championship series, posting a 2.34 earned-run average and earning all four of the team's wins against Detroit in the ALCS.

But in the first three games of the World Series, the Texas bullpen gave up 11 runs, 13 hits and seven walks, with the Cardinals batting .317 against the relievers.

Enter Holland, whose 81/3-inning outing was the longest by a Rangers starter this postseason and led Texas to a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

"We weren't even thinking about that," said Darren Oliver, who has pitched in six of the Rangers' 14 postseason games. "That was just a huge, huge performance for Holland. You couldn't ask for anything better than what he did tonight."

The Ranger most in need of rest was right-hander Alexi Ogando, who gave up only a run in 101/3 innings in the AL playoffs but has been hit hard in the World Series, giving up the game-winning hit in Game 1 and the go-ahead hit in Game 2, and yielding the second of Albert Pujols' three homers — a three-run blast off the facing of the third deck in left field — in Game 3.

But then Ogando's postseason work pushed his season total to 180 innings, more than he threw in five previous pro seasons combined.

"He's a strong kid," Texas Manager Ron Washington said of Ogando, who has pitched in 10 playoff games. "No one felt worse when he didn't get the job done. But it's our job to make sure that his confidence doesn't wane. We've got his back."

A vote for Ng

Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre, who worked with Kim Ng in Los Angeles and New York, said Sunday the former assistant general manager with the Dodgers and Yankees would be a good choice to fill the vacant GM spot with the Angels.

"I think she's ready," said Torre, a former Dodgers and Yankees manager who hired Ng to assist him in the commissioner's office, where he is the executive vice president for baseball operations. "It would be a terrible loss for us. But I think she is ready to take that next step."

Ng, who in the past interviewed for general manager positions with the Seattle Mariners, Dodgers and San Diego Padres, is among the leading candidates to replace Tony Reagins, who resigned his post with the Angels at season's end.

The Angels are said to also have interest in Rick Hahn, the Chicago White Sox's vice president and assistant GM; Jerry DiPoto, a senior vice president with the Arizona Diamondbacks; and Yankees executives Billy Eppler and Damon Oppenheimer, among others.

Short hops

Ken Griffey Jr. was presented Saturday with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award. A 13-time All-Star and an American League most valuable player who ranks fifth on the all-time home run list with 630, Griffey is the award's first recipient since 2007.... The Rangers, who have twice followed losses with a win in this World Series, haven't lost consecutive games since Aug. 23-25, a string of 44 consecutive games.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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