ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland was sharp in his first major-league start of the season, and he got plenty of support from his Texas Rangers teammates.
Holland struck out seven in six shutout innings, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero hit back-to-back home runs, and the Rangers routed the Oakland Athletics 10-1 on Wednesday night.
Holland (1-0) allowed five hits and walked one while throwing 103 pitches. The left-hander was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier Wednesday to take the rotation spot of Matt Harrison, who went on the 15-day disabled list with left biceps tendinitis.
Michael Young, Max Ramirez and Hamilton all belted home runs and each had three hits to help the Rangers take over sole possession of first in the AL West after beginning the night tied with the A's.
Rookie Justin Smoak also connected as the Rangers had a season-high five home runs and 17 hits.
"Derek Holland did what we needed him to do," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He was very aggressive out there. Then we put some runs on the board. He was able to command [his fastball] on both sides of the plate. There was nothing down the middle. When you can command your fastball that creates confidence."
Holland, who went 8-13 for Texas as a rookie last season, was a strong candidate to secure a rotation spot out of spring training before he sustained a mild right knee sprain during an agility drill on Feb. 20.
The injury limited Holland to four outings in Arizona, and he opened the season in Oklahoma City where he was dominant, going 4-1 with a 0.93 in six starts.
Holland said his outing was simply a carryover from his performance at Triple-A.
"It's huge," Holland said. "It keeps my confidence going. It shows I can pitch as well here as I did there."
Texas has won five of six and nine of 12.
The Rangers went in front 2-0 in the fourth against Gio Gonzalez (3-3) with the help of the left-hander's balk.
Ian Kinsler's double drove in Guerrero from first, and Kinsler went to third on a flyout. Kinsler ran toward home before stopping, and Gonzalez stepped off the rubber, then threw wildly to the plate with Kinsler scoring.
At first, home plate umpire Tim Tschida ruled a throwing error on Gonzalez, but after the game the umpires called the press box to announce that the call had been changed to a balk.
"I was going to try and steal home," Kinsler said. "He did something funky and threw it. From my angle, it looked like a balk."
Young singled leading off the fifth and Hamilton followed with his seventh home run of the season, a 427-foot shot to right-center for a 4-0 pad.
That ended Gonzalez's outing after allowing four runs and nine hits in four-plus innings.
"His overall stuff wasn't as crisp as he has been," A's manager Bob Geren said.
Guerrero greeted Chad Gaudin with his seventh home run to make it 5-0.
Ramirez and Young added solo shots in the sixth off Gaudin, giving the Rangers four homers in a span of nine batters, and Smoak's two-run blast in the seventh off Henry Rodriguez extended the lead to 9-0.
Eric Patterson's home run in the eighth off Doug Mathis ended the shutout bid.
Geren said C Kurt Suzuki will need a few more games in his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento before he's ready to be activated. Suzuki, who went 2 for 2 with a homer, double and three RBIs in Tuesday night's game at Oklahoma City, has been on the 15-day DL since April 30 with an intercostal strain. ... Oakland RHP Justin Duchscherer will throw in the bullpen again on Thursday to test the sore left hip that has kept him on the 15-day DL since April 25. Duchscherer is scheduled to be activated for Saturday night's road start against the Los Angeles Angels. ... Rookie CF Craig Gentry was in Texas' original starting lineup, but he was scratched due to an upset stomach. David Murphy was inserted in LF, with Hamilton shifting from LF to CF. ... Texas OF Nelson Cruz went 2 for 4 for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday, and Washington said Cruz will be activated for Friday night's game at Toronto. Cruz has been on the 15-day DL since April 27 with a right hamstring strain. ...The Rangers had back-to-back home runs for the third time this season. Guerrero's been involved in all three.