Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 10/24/11
ARLINGTON, Texas In the aftermath of the Rangers 16-7 loss to the Cardinals in Game 3 of the World Series, manager Ron Washington didnt need to say much to his players. Shower up and let that go down the drain, Washington said as he walked out of the clubhouse. The Rangers took that message to heart in Sundays 4-0 win to even the series, 2-2. In the biggest start of his young career, 25-year-old left-hander Derek Holland dominated the Cardinals lineup for 8 13 innings at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Not even Albert Pujols could get a ball out of the infield against Holland, who kept the Cardinals off balance by mixing his pitches brilliantly throughout the game. Including postseason, the Rangers have now played 44 consecutive games without losing two straight. They lost three straight to the Red Sox from Aug. 23-25, which is hard to imagine now. The Rangers have been losing-streak proof because they have an uncanny knack for turning the page. And the latest example has a lot to do with how Washington showed extreme confidence in Holland. He said publicly that he fully expected his lefty to pitch deep into Game 4, which seemed like a stretch based on recent outings. Before the game, FOX cameras captured Washington delivering an intense message to Holland before sending him to the mound with a slap to the face. He was hitting me like a girl, joked Holland. Washington takes a hands-on approach with Holland because he tends to lose focus during games. On days that hes not pitching, Washington has ordered Holland to hug the railing protecting the dugout and focus on each pitch. It's not like he was ordering Popeye's chicken, but Holland did have a habit of wandering into the clubhouse during games he wasn't pitching. Some young pitchers might go in the tank when a manager yells at them, but Holland seems to thrive off Washingtons tough love. He said his college coach once ripped him so badly for the way he was pitching in a fall league that he immediately made a productive change. The Cardinals rolled into the Rangers shooting gallery Saturday night and pushed them around. But there was no carryover effect in Sundays game. Washington made a tweak to the lineup by moving Napoli to eighth in the order to split up left-handed bats David Murphy and Mitch Moreland. It didnt seem like much, but Napoli responded with a three-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead. I think the reason why we got on this roll is because they just learned from the day before, and they come out and they just try to deal with what they have to deal with on that day, said Washington of his teams ability to avoid losing streaks. And I always preach to them that its not always the best team that wins, its the team that plays the best on that day. And today we were better. Im not even thinking about tomorrow until it gets here. Last year in the World Series, there was a sense of panic that set in when Cliff Lee lost Game 1 of the World Series. Hed been the teams security blanket and it immediately put pressure on the rest of the staff. This years edition of the Fall Classic feels a lot different. The Rangers dont have a true ace, but theres a steadfast belief they will find a way to win. A big part of that is quickly moving on from both wins and losses. We separate each game, said David Murphy. If we lose, we do a great job of not dwelling on it. Whether its 16-7 or 2-1, its still a loss. Now, the Rangers have to find a way to win two of three games from the Cardinals. And the fact theyve already won a game Busch Stadium should give them plenty of confidence. The Rangers short-term memory continues to serve them well.
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