ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas starter Derek Holland surpassed just about everyone's expectations in his first start since returning from the disabled list earlier this week.
Not his own.
Holland (5-6) allowed one run on four hits in six innings in a 3-0 loss to Cincinnati Tuesday. He'll be looking to build off that outing Sunday when he faces off opposite Danny Salazar (11-5) and the Cleveland Indians as the Rangers look to take 3-of-4 from the Tribe.
Holland, who missed more than two months because of left shoulder inflammation, is trying to keep the momentum from that start going.
"I'm always trying to do that every time I go out," Holland said of his first start. "But I'm past that. I've got to focus on what's next, now it's Cleveland. They're a hot team. They're in first place as well."
All the Cincinnati start did for Holland was prove that he was over the shoulder issues that contributed to his slow start this season. He felt fine physically in his three rehab starts, but the having the success at the big-league level let Holland know he's where he wants to be with his pitching.
"It's one good start," Holland said. "My goal is to be consistent all the time. It's not after one start we throw a parade because I did good or whatever. I want to continue to do that each start and just feed off of that."
Holland was pleased with his efficiency in the start (73 pitches in six innings) and his slider. Holland had gotten away from throwing his slider earlier in the year, but established it early in his five-strikeout start.
"Everything's there," he said. "It's where it needs to be. I feel very confident and very happy with where I'm at."
Facing Cleveland has been good for Holland in the past. The Ohio native is 4-1 lifetime against Cleveland with a 2.74 ERA. He beat the Indians earlier this year, pitching six innings and allowing one run in a 9-2 win in May.
While Holland comes into Sunday's game with confidence, Salazar has been scuffling. Despite impressive numbers on the season as a whole, the right-hander has struggled mightily over his last four starts.
Salazar is 0-2 in that span with a 15.55 ERA. In his last two starts, he's totaled just five innings and has been tagged for nine earned runs.
Despite the stretch, Cleveland manager Terry Francona is confident Salazar can get things turned around given his track record. Over the last two seasons, Salazar is 25-15.
"His last two starts, everybody has those," Francona said. "When things like that happen, Mickey (Callaway), our pitching coach, they make sure they have a good solid side day, they pay attention to detail, because that stuff is the fastest way to find your footing again. It doesn't always come back in one lump, but if you have a good solid work week, it generally gives you the best chance on your day to start to succeed."