Rangers Fall 4-1 To Astros In Opener

Josh Clark
March 29, 2018 - 6:14 pm
Houston Astros at Texas Rangers

Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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ARLINGTON (105.3 The Fan) - Justin Verlander threw six shutout innings and George Springer and Jake Marisnick homered as the Houston Astros beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 on Opening Day.

Cole Hamels, appearing in his fourth career Opening Day start, took the loss. He threw 5 and 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out seven. 

"I thought Cole kinda settled in and battled there for a bit. He was able to find some range there. He got behind Springer early with a fastball over the plate," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I thought the mix was pretty good with the fastball and the slider. The second home run from Marisnick seemed to be an ambush swing on a fastball. Other than that, I thought Hamels was good." 

"I was able to (get going) later in the game but unfortunately the damage was already done," Hamels said after the loss. 

Springer, who blasted the third pitch of the game into the right-field seats, became the first player in MLB history with leadoff homers in consecutive season openers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It was the 100th career homer for the 28-year-old right fielder in his fifth big league season.

Texas was shutout for most of the afternoon until Elvis Andrus came around to score on a wild pitch delivered from Astros closer Ken Giles with two outs in the ninth.  

Andrus and Adrian Beltre both collected two hits. The Rangers as a team had six hits for the day, the same number the Astros offense had.

On the bright side, the Rangers bullpen was spectacular, outside of Matt Bush's performance (1 ER, 2 BB's). 

Chris Martin struck out two hitters in a clean seventh inning, while Kevin Jepsen struck out one in a shut down ninth inning. Jose Leclerc came on in relief of Hamels in the sixth and struck out the only hitter he faced. 

Texas and Houston play again Friday night at Globe Life Park. Doug Fister will make his Rangers debut against Dallas Keuchel.