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TEX@BOS: Holland strikes out seven over seven innings

It's only a late April start, but if Derek Holland can channel some playoff vibes against the Yankees on Monday, he may be able to exorcise some regular-season demons and help the Rangers to a victory in the series opener.

The 25-year-old southpaw, 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA this season, has one career victory against the Bronx Bombers, which came in relief in the 2010 American League Championship Series. In the regular season, though, he's 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in five starts and one relief appearance.

The red-hot Rangers finished a stellar road trip with an 8-1 record after stops in Minnesota, Boston and Detroit. The Yankees won two straight games against the rival Red Sox before Sunday's series finale was postponed due to rain.

"They're a good team," Texas' Michael Young said of the Yankees. "We've played a lot of good teams lately. The Tigers are a tremendous team. Now we're playing the Yankees, and they're a good team. They're playing well. It will be a challenge. We're looking forward to it."

The Rangers have been up to the task thus far this season, jumping into first place in the AL West.

"It's nice to get off to a good start," Young said. "We all have a good idea of what it takes to have a successful season. We want to make sure we keep getting better. That has been our goal the past few years. We'd like to be a better team at the All-Star break than we are now."

Monday, they'll run into Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia, who is coming off his first win of the season and his first quality start of the year. He struggled in his first three innings in that outing against the Twins before throwing no-hit ball the rest of the way.

"I thought he started to find his location down and away better, and I thought all of his stuff got better," manager Joe Girardi said. "He just started to make better pitches. In the third inning, he gave up the two runs and gave up a few hits in a row, and after that, it was not a whole lot."

Rangers: Beltre likely out
• The Rangers are likely to be without the services of third baseman Adrian Beltre, who strained his left hamstring in Saturday's first game of a doubleheader against Detroit.

He will undergo an MRI on Monday in Texas, but the club is hoping to avoid placing him on the disabled list.

• Texas' Mike Napoli on the Rangers' great road trip: "Usually you just like to play .500 on the road. We're just trying to win series, and we happened to put a good streak together. We're just playing good baseball. We're getting good pitching and good hitting. That's a pretty good combination."

Yankees: Power surge
• The Yankees have hit 12 homers over their last three games (including five on Friday). The Bronx Bombers are averaging 8.2 runs per game in their last five.

• New York is 9-3 since dropping its first three games of the season, against the Rays.

Worth noting
• Former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez will be honored in pregame ceremonies. He is officially retiring on Monday after 21 seasons. He played with the Rangers from 1991-2002 and the end of the 2009 season.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Rangers had fewer than 1,000 tickets still available for the game.

• The Yankees won seven of the nine regular-season meetings between the two teams last year, outscoring the Rangers, 62-35. Comments