BALTIMORE -- Rangers starter Derek Holland earned his seventh victory of the season on Monday night despite allowing five runs in 6 2/3 innings. Predictably, Holland wasn't happy with his performance.
"I felt good," Holland said. "I felt everything was good, but I have to pitch better than that. The guys have me runs and I kept giving them back. I've got to be better than that. I did a poor job of keeping momentum on our side."
Holland still did two things right on Monday night in an 8-5 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards. He dominated All-Star first baseman Chris Davis and he held his opponents to just one hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
That made the difference as the Rangers capitalized on a six-run sixth inning and held on for their fourth victory in their last five games, remaining a half-game behind the Athletics in the American League West.
Davis entered the game hitting .320 with 33 home runs and 85 RBIs but struck out four times and walked once in his five plate appearances. Holland struck him out three times, including twice with two runners on base.
"That was huge, especially with the way Chris is putting up numbers," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We made some pitches and didn't leave anything over the plate. He had to fight for his at-bats and tonight we won."
Joe Nathan also struck out Davis in the ninth inning while retiring the side in order for his 30th save of the season.
"We just mixed it up with him," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He's hot and having such a great year, you have to be careful with him. You just have to keep attacking him but keep changing your patterns and keep him off-balance."
It was not a good night all-around for former Rangers. Scott Feldman made his second start for the Orioles since being acquired from the Cubs and took the loss. He had a 3-2 lead going into the sixth before the Rangers struck for six runs against him and reliever Troy Patton. In his first start against the Rangers this season, Feldman pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in a 9-2 victory on May 6 while with the Cubs.
"I think if I would have made my pitches, things could have gone differently," Feldman said. "I think when I faced them the first time I was getting a lot more first-pitch strikes and getting ahead in the count and was able to control the at-bat a little better."
The Rangers were able to come through with the big hits that the Orioles were missing. The Rangers were 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position while the Orioles were 1-for-12 overall. RBI singles by Ian Kinsler in the third and Mitch Moreland in the fourth gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead. But Moreland's throwing error and the Orioles only hit with runners in scoring position led to three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Holland was still able to get out of that inning by striking out Matt Wieters with the bases loaded.
"When I needed to make pitches I did," Holland said. "I became a lot more focused with runners on base. The frustrating thing is I let some things get out of hand when I shouldn't have."
Feldman took a 3-2 lead into the sixth but David Murphy started the rally with a single to center. Nelson Cruz flied out to center as Adam Jones made a diving catch. But Adrian Beltre followed with a single to left and Pierzynski tied the score with a double into the left-field corner.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter then had Feldman walk Moreland so he could face Elvis Andrus. Feldman had induced Andrus to ground hard into an inning-ending double play in the fourth and the Orioles were hoping he could do it again. Instead, Andrus singled to left to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
"When you hammer a ball right at a guy, the only thing you want is to be able to have the same opportunity again," Andrus said. "They gave the walk to Moreland, and it fired me up a little bit. I wanted to make them pay."
With the bases still loaded, Showalter brought in Patton to face the bottom of the Rangers order. But Engel Beltre blooped a single to right to bring home another run and make it 5-3. Leonys Martin then hit a grounder to Davis, who threw home to get a force. But Kinsler followed with a double to left that brought home three runs and left the Rangers with an 8-3 lead.
"We were fighting all night and but we came up in that inning and delivered," Washington said.
Holland gave up a two-run home run to Wieters in the seventh and left with two on and two out. But Ross Wolf needed just one pitch to get Ryan Flaherty on a grounder to end the inning.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.