Instant Replay: Astros top Rangers in opener

Instant Replay: Astros top Rangers in opener
March 31, 2013, 11:00 pm
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The Astros made history on Sunday. Then they got a win.

In the Astros’ first game as an American League team, Bud Norris had a strong outing and the Astros gave him plenty of offense in an 8-2 win over the Rangers in the MLB opener at Minute Maid Park on Sunday night.

With the win, the Astros have the best record in baseball.

Starting pitching report

Norris went 5 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits to earn the win. He struck out five and walked three. He was cruising until the sixth inning, when he got in some trouble. He allowed two, two-out singles that led to two runs. He finished the game with 97 pitches.

Matt Harrison went 5 2/3 innings for the Rangers. He allowed six hits, six runs (five unearned). He also struck out nine and walked three. His nine strikeouts matched a Rangers’ opening day record.

Bullpen report

In an unusual move, Bo Porter put in starting pitcher Erik Bedard in relief in the sixth inning. Bedard finished out the game and didn’t allow a run.

For the Rangers, Derek Lowe pitched just a 1/3 of an inning and gave up one hit (a home run) and one earned run. Jason Frasor pitched one scoreless inning.

At the plate

Rick Ankiel didn’t start but when he replaced Brandon Barnes in the sixth inning, he made his presence felt. Ankiel smashed a three-run shot to right field to help the Astros pull away.

The Astros got the scoring started in the fourth inning. With two outs, Carlos Pena hit a single before Justin Maxwell hit a triple off the top of the leftfield wall that brought in two runs. Maxwell went 2-for-3 with two triples, a walk and two runs scored.

In the fifth inning, Ronny Cedeno took a high pitch and deposited it in right field. The ball was misplayed by Nelson Cruz, which allowed Barnes to score all the way from first to put the Astros up 3-0. Cedeno then scored on a single from Jose Altuve.

Altuve also had the first hit of the 2013 MLB season when he lined a single in the bottom of the first inning.

The Rangers finally found some offense in the sixth inning, when they linked a couple singles together to push across two runs. Former Astro Lance Berkman had two hits.

Health check

Pitcher Alex White, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list on Saturday, was scheduled for more tests on Sunday. General manager Jeff Luhnow didn’t rule out Tommy John surgery for White’s elbow strain.

Up next

The Astros have two more games against the Rangers in this cross-state series. Lucas Harrell, who won a team-high 11 games last season will start against Yu Darvish on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Phillip Humber will make his first start as an Astro. The Rangers will Alexi Ogando in that afternoon game on Wednesday.

The Astros will then have three games at home against the Athletics before getting on the road to face the Mariners.