Phillies power past Rangers in wild opener

Posted Monday, Mar. 31, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The most surprising thing about Opening Day at Globe Life Park was that the Texas Rangers actually held the lead after three innings.

Tanner Scheppers had surrendered six runs in the second. Ace left-hander Cliff Lee was the opposing pitcher, and he hadn’t given up more than six earned runs since the summer he pitched for the Rangers.

Heading to the fourth, though, there was the home team, leading by a missed extra point.

But baseball games are nine innings, and the Rangers’ pitching staff is a shell of what it was expected to be before the season. The final result Monday — a Philadelphia victory — couldn’t have been a complete shock.

Jimmy Rollins swatted a grand slam and Ben Revere drove in three runs for the Phillies, who scored seven times against Scheppers and added seven more against three relievers en route to a 14-10 win.

The runs were the most scored in a season opener against the Rangers, who lost their home opener for the first time since 2008.

“We were trying to get as many as we could and keep pecking away and hopefully we could put an inning up there where we could stop them,” manager Ron Washington said. “But we couldn’t. Every time we put runs on the board, they either matched it or put runs on the board that kept us behind.”

Scheppers allowed seven runs in four innings, but left his first big-league start with a no-decision. Alex Rios hit a three-run homer in the third that gave the Rangers their only lead of the game, at 7-6, and Josh Wilson had a three-run double in a four-run second inning.

The bullpen, though, didn’t get a scoreless inning until right-hander Seth Rosin, a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers a week ago, posted a zero in the ninth in what was his major league debut.

Pedro Figueroa (0-1) allowed four runs in relief of Scheppers, and Alexi Ogando and Shawn Tolleson couldn’t get through their days unblemished.

Scheppers got through the first inning with no harm, on only nine pitches, before he unraveled in the second.

He walked Ryan Howard to start the frame, but appeared to be headed to another scoreless inning after retiring Marlon Byrd and Domonic Brown. But Carlos Ruiz extended the inning with a walk, and Cody Asche brought in Howard with a shift-beating double to left field.

Another walk, to Tony Gwynn Jr., filled the bases again, and Revere made it 2-0 with a single to center. Rollins followed with the 200th homer of his career, a grand slam for a 6-0 lead.

But the Rangers would be leading after the third.

They scored four times against Lee in their half of the second, with Wilson’s double into the left-field corner the big blow. Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre singled to start the third, and Rios followed with a shot into the visitor’s bullpen for a 7-6 lead.

Lee hadn’t given up more than six earned runs since Baltimore scored eight against him in an 8-6 win over the Rangers. It marked the second time in his career that he pitched a season opener against the Rangers and surrendered seven runs.

“Three against that guy is tough,” Fielder said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough today.”

Scheppers quickly surrendered the tying run in the fourth, and lefty Figueroa gave up two more in the fifth to put the Rangers in another hole at 9-7.

For Scheppers, his three walks, all in the second inning, helped lead to his undoing as the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to make his first career start on Opening Day.

“I think I was trying to be too fine,” Scheppers said. “That’s not my game. You want to go out there and dominate. That wasn’t the case for me today. I had to battle.”

The Rangers got a run back in their half of the fifth, on an RBI single by Leonys Martin, and were an out away from exiting the top of the sixth down only 9-8 before Marlon Byrd homered to jump-start a four-run, two-out Phillies rally in the sixth.

Eleven of the Phillies’ 14 runs came with two outs.

“Those are supposed to be the most difficult runs to get,” Washington said. “When you can get those type of runs, those are the ones that help you to win a ballgame.”

Jeff Wilson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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