Fast start for Texas Rangers comes to an abrupt halt as Toronto rallies for 10-8 Opening Day victory
TORONTO — The five newcomers to the Texas Rangers’ lineup and their big offseason pitching acquisition made favorable first impressions Friday night.
A big first inning at the plate, a nice second inning, and three scoreless innings from right-hander Jon Gray.
The Rangers were well on their way to the World Series.
Two innings later, though, the parade had been canceled after the Rangers blew a big Opening Day lead for the season straight season.
It wasn’t quite as gruesome as the 2021 lid-lifter, though it was a bigger lead and the end result was the same.
The Rangers are 0-1.
“That was a tough one,” manager Chris Woodward said.
Toronto scored in five straight innings, with the heaviest damage done against the Rangers’ bullpen, and a fast start by the Rangers’ offense hit a dead end in a 10-8 loss at a sold-out Rogers Centre.
Teoscar Hernandez launched a three-run homer in the fifth to bring the Blue Jays into a 7-7 tie after trailing 7-0 entering their turn in the fourth.
The Toronto rally spoiled solid Rangers debuts by Brad Miller, Corey Seager and Mitch Garver. Gray allowed three runs in four innings and left with a potential blister on his middle finger.
He said the issue first appeared Sunday in his final spring start and began affecting him Friday after the third inning. He called it more of a mental thing than a physical one, and he expects to make his next start Thursday.
“It’s a real shame,” Gray said, ‘“because I felt really good.
Miller opened the game with a home run. It was the third Opening Day leadoff homer in Rangers history, a feat also accomplished by Oddibe McDowell (1987) and Ian Kinsler (2011).
The next four Rangers, three of them in the first Rangers season, also reached en route to a four-spot against Toronto ace Jose Berrios. He didn’t make it out of the innings.
Garver connected for a two-run homer in the sixth, and Nathaniel Lowe collected his second RBI single in the fourth for the 7-0 lead.
After scoring three against Gray, the Blue Jays scored four two-out runs in the fifth against John King and Josh Sborz. The rally started when King walked leadoff hitter George Springer.
“You can’t give them any hope,” Woodward said.
Toronto pulled ahead 8-7 in the sixth, but Adolis Garcia tied it in the seventh with a solo homer. The Blue Jays countered in their half with the go-ahead run, which scored after an out call at home that ended the inning was overturned.
Danny Jansen’s eight-inning solo shot padded the lead, and former Rangers Rule 5 pick Jordan Romano closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth that included the Rangers’ only two strikeouts of the game.
Seager was the first. He went 2 for 4 with a walk and three runs scored, and said the offense can do better.
“I think we lost our groove offensively through the middle part of the game and had some quick innings,” he said. “Just stay with what we’re doing. There were good pitches to Hit. It just didn’t happen for us.”