By the minute: A stranger kind of Rangers’ Opening Day

Posted Monday, Mar. 31, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies have been rivals since, well, never. But those were the Opening Day foes Monday at the renamed Global Life Park in Arlington, with MLB’s first-ever season opener between American League and National League teams. That wasn’t all that was new Monday, as the Rangers’ revamped roster did indeed have fans needing to buy a program to see who the players were.

Here is what happened during the Phillies’ 14-10 victory that the history books should just as soon ignore:

12:43 p.m.: Rangers players are introduced, and with 17 players on the roster who weren’t here for Opening Day last season, introductions are definitely in order.

12:50: Introductions are complete, and if Chuck Morgan hadn’t had to include all the injured players, he would have finished at 12:47.

1:07: With a first-pitch ball that bounces in the back of the left-hand batter’s box, the Rangers’ Tanner Scheppers joins Fernando Valenzuela as the only pitchers since 1945 to make their make their first major league starts in his their teams’ season openers. There, “Tanner Scheppers” and “Fernando Valenzuela” have now been used in the same sentence.

1:10: Chase Utley flies out harmlessly to left as Scheppers records a very Fernando-like 1-2-3 top of the first.

1:17: Prince Fielder grounds out harmlessly to second as Phillies starter and former Ranger Cliff Lee records a very Cliff-like 1-2-3 inning.

1:25: You want history? The Phillies have history, and Domonic Brown just became the first player in any of the Phillies’ 132 season openers to appear at designated hitter. And he grounded out weakly to second.

1:29: Cody Asche beats the Rangers’ infield shift with a grounder down the third-base line for an RBI double and a 1-0 Phillies lead.

1:31: Scheppers’ high ball on a 2-1 pitch to No. 9 hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. elicits the first notable angst from Rangers fans this season.

1:35: With the bases loaded, Ben Revere lines a single to center to score Carlos Ruiz.

1:36: Jimmy Rollins deposits Scheppers’ 1-0 pitch into the seats in right for a grand slam. Phillies up 6-0 early.

1:38: Utley grounds to second for the third out, and Rangers fans finally have something to cheer about — they won’t have to mess up their scorebook only two innings into the game by carrying an inning over into the next column.

1:48: Could the Rangers be mounting a rally against Lee? With runners on first and second and one out, J.P. Arencibia works a seven-pitch walk to load the bases.

1:51: Leonys Martin singles to right to score Adrian Beltre. Phillies 6, Rangers 1.

1:53: We have an official rally. Second baseman Josh Wilson, batting ninth, doubles into the left-field corner to score three runs, tie his career high for RBIs in a game and cut the Rangers’ deficit to 6-4.

2:09: Fielder leads off the bottom of the second with a single to right. Finally, new Rangers first base coach Bengie Molina has a runner on first with second unoccupied and can help the runner get the type of jump off the pitcher that enabled him to steal three bases during his 13-year career.

2:12: Alex Rios belts a three-run homer into the Phillies’ bullpen and it’s 7-6 Rangers in the bottom of the third. Welcome to American League ball, Philly.

2:31: With two outs in the fourth, the Phillies tie the score at 7 when Utley singles off the glove of a diving Wilson and Revere scores from second.

2:48: The bullpen parade begins to start the top of the fifth, with Pedro Figueroa making his Rangers debut. Scheppers leaves with the score 7-7. Prediction: In his postgame news conference, Wash will say Scheppers did what he was asked to do by giving his team a chance to win.

2:54: With all the new Rangers in the first-base dugout, it’s a former Texas first-round draft pick — John Mayberry Jr. — who gives the Phillies a 9-7 lead in the fifth, doubling up the gap in left-center. Trivia question: Who did Philadelphia trade to the Rangers in exchange for Mayberry? As they like to say on television, stay tuned for the trivia answer next inning.

3:03: Arencibia hits a jet-stream double to the fence in right-center that had center fielder Revere seemingly surprised to see the ball keep carrying. Welcome to Globe Life Park, J.P.

3:04: Martin chases Arencibia home with a single to center. It’s 9-8 Phils.

3:12: Trivia answer: Outfielder Greg Golson, who made one plate appearance for the Rangers in 2009.

3:12: After Figueroa retires the first two batters, former Ranger Marlon Byrd turns on a pitch and 371 quickly covered feet later, the Phillies lead 10-8 in the sixth.

3:21: Asche singles off Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando — literally — and shortstop Elvis Andrus misplays the carom off Ogando for an error, allowing Brown to score all the way from second. Philly, 11-8.

3:25: Revere singles to center. Asche and Mayberry score. Now it’s 13-8, still with two outs in the sixth.

3:53: In the bottom of the seventh, Rios turns Phillies reliever Jake Diekman into Charlie Brown with a liner up the middle, advancing Beltre to second.

3:57: Mansfield Timberview’s own and UTA’s own Michael Choice pinch-hits against B.J. Rosenberg and singles to center to load the bases.

3:58: Arencibia grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. Beltre scores, and it’s 13-9.

4:03: Pinch hitter Jim Adduci — he’s a Ranger, by the way — singles in Rios, trimming the deficit to three.

4:06: Hmmm. Shin-Soo Choo comes to the plate as the tying run, and Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg brings in lefty Antonio Bastardo.

4:08: Choo walks and the sacks are juiced for Andrus.

4:09: Andrus’ bouncer up the middle forces Choo at second for the final out.

4:16: Solo shot for Asche in the eighth. That makes the score 14-10 Eagles, and the Cowboys are going to regret that possession when they couldn’t punch it into the end zone and had to settle for a field goal.

4:43: Philly closer Jonathan Papelbon retires the Rangers in order in the ninth for a 14-10 victory for the team from the Senior Circuit. The Rangers, before the West Coast games get underway, are the American League’s highest-scoring team and are 0-1. But fear not, we’re 161 games away from Ian Kinsler getting his wish.

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