In one huge opening day inter-league batting extravaganza the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Texas Rangers 14-10 thanks to Jimmy Rollins hitting a grand slam home run in the second inning and a strong day at bat for Ben Revere and Chase Utley as well.
Pitching wasn’t really something anyone will remember from this game, although Cliff Lee did pull off the win thanks to the support he got from the offense. He pitched for five innings, allowing 8 runs and 11 hits. Not exactly a quality start, but in a crazy day that began with Philadelphia taking a 6-0 run in the third and scoring 13 runs by the sixth, this kind of pitching is enough to pick up a opening day win for Lee.
The final three innings went quite nicely for Philadelphia, not allowing a run through Rosenberg, Bastardo and Papelbon on the mound to close the game. All five Rangers pitchers allowed hits – Tanner Scheppers lasted only four innings after giving up 7 runs and walking three more while allowing three hits, but the loss went to Pedro Figueroa, giving up four runs in less than two innings to give himself a 21.60 ERA after just one day of Baseball.
While Rollins hitting the grand slam homer and reaching 200 career home runs was probably the most memorable hit of the game, pinch hitter John Mayberry Jr. hitting a two run double in the 5th to break a 7-7 tie, following Chase Utley tying the game with a single that scored Revere were the most important scored the Phillies had in a crazy afternoon of hitting.
Alex Rios scored the only home run for Texas, giving the Rangers a short-lived lead in the third inning, helping two players on base score runs with his 414 feet bomb. Rios finished with 3-of-5 on the day, the best in the Rangers lineup, as Prince Fielder finished with 1-of-5 and Adrian Beltre was hard to stop with 2-of-4 and a walk.
The 24 combined runs were the most on Opening Day since April 1, 2011, and the 3rd highest scoring count in the last 50 years. The Phillies’ 14 are the second most in franchise history for an opening day game, and Rollins is the 2nd Phillies player with a grand slam on Opening Day in the last 100 years following Placido Polanco in 2010 vs Nationals.
A bad day for pitchers, did we say? The last time opposing starters each allowed 7+ ER on Opening Day was April 5, 1974, when Luis Tiant (BOS) and Jim Colborn (MIL) did it in a 9-8 Red Sox win. It was extremely rough on Scheppers, making his first career start on Opening Day. The Phillies had 17 hits and their most runs on a season opener since 1900.
I don’t like being on the pitching side of that, but fortunately we outscored them and got the win, the main thing. Jimmy hitting that grand slam busted it open. And we kept adding it on and we needed it, as it turned out. J-Roll, with the big pop early, just really set the tone and got things going. I think it was contagious after that.