ARLINGTON, Texas —Questioning Derek Holland’s intestinal fortitude has become almost as popular among the football-mad sports fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex this October as questioning the ability of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to win a big game.
Holland emphatically answered those questions in the affirmative Sunday night. The left-hander pitched 8⅓ scoreless innings to lead the Texas Rangers to a 4-0 win of the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series at Rangers Ballpark.
Closer Neftali Feliz finished off the two-hit shutout by getting the final two outs in a non-save situation.
Holland was lifted after giving up a seven-pitch walk to Rafael Furcal with one out in the ninth inning, which stretched his pitch count to 116. Holland struck out seven and walked two.
Mike Napoli provided the key blow for the Texas offense. His three-run home run in the sixth inning ran the lead to 4-0.
Lance Berkman had both of the Cardinals’ hits, a double in the second and a single in the fifth. A night after tying World Series records with three home runs, five hits and six RBI, St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols was 0 for 4.
Holland went 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA during the regular season while tying for the American League lead with four shutouts. Yet the 25-year-old admitted to being anxious during his previous four postseason appearances, in which he had gone 1-0 with a 5.27 ERA. He averaged less than four innings in his three starts.
There was also Holland’s shaky performance in last year’s World Series, when he walked four of the seven batters he faced over two relief appearances and finished with a 27.00 ERA.
St. Louis starter Edwin Jackson walked seven in 5⅓ innings but was charged with only three runs. He allowed three hits and struck out three and took the loss Sunday.