Rangers raise AL champs flag with rally vs. Red Sox

Posted: 02/04/2011 in MLB
Rangers rally to beat Red Sox
David Murphy’s two-run double hit the chalk line and sparked a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth, lifting the Texas Rangers to a 9-5 victory over Boston on the day they raised their first American League pennant. Up as a pinch-hitter, Murphy smacked a hit that curled but remained fair down the left field line to give Texas the lead for good.

“I think my body language brought it back in,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington about the double. “I was praying that it hit the chalk. When it did, I lost it.”

Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton added RBI doubles after that, and Neftali Feliz struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap the celebratory day.

Mike Napoli belted a three-run homer in the fourth inning that gave Texas a 5-4 lead, but Boston ended up tying it on David Ortiz’s solo blast in the top of the eighth.

The see-sawing meant neither starter earned a decision, although both worked into the sixth inning.

C.J. Wilson allowed four runs — two earned — on six hits and two walks, striking out six in his first Opening Day start for the Rangers. Boston’s Jon Lester also made his first Opening Day start, giving up five runs on six hits and a walk.

Darren Oliver (1-0) got the win despite giving up Ortiz’s homer. Daniel Bard (0-1) took the loss, giving up all four Texas runs while getting just two outs in the bottom of eighth.

After reaching their first World Series in 50 years as a franchise, the Rangers got to raise an AL championship flag for the first time on Friday.

Then, they took the field against a team many have picked to win it this year.

Of course, the Red Sox first have to make the postseason — something they failed to do last year despite winning 89 games in the ultra-competitive AL East.

Boston’s roster is stacked even higher with talent this year. Former Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez made his Red Sox debut and knocked in three runs with a pair of singles. But fellow high-profile offseason addition Carl Crawford went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

“Every game is one out of 162,” said Gonzalez.

The Rangers won 90 games last year with a blend of power, pitching and chemistry, knocking off the Rays and Yankees before losing to San Francisco in the World Series.

They needed to rally three times to capture their 2011 opener.

After Kevin Youkilis and Gonzalez both had RBI singles in the top of the first to make it 2-0 Boston, Ian Kinsler homered in the bottom of the inning and Nelson Cruz added a solo homer of his own in the second to tie the game for Texas.

Gonzalez lined a two-run single up the middle in the third, but the Rangers took their first lead of the game when Napoli hooked a low 2-2 offering from Lester inside the left-field pole to make it 5-4 in the fourth.

Mark Lowe replaced Wilson after the Rangers starter walked Mike Cameron with two outs in the sixth. Matt Albers spelled Lester with two runners on and one down in the sixth.

– Steve


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