Rangers 12, Angels 4

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Michael Young fielded the ball cleanly, and threw it away. Then he did it again on the next play.

Not exactly what AL MVP Alex Rodriguez’s replacement wanted to do in his first home game as the Texas Rangers’ starting shortstop. But Young had a pretty nice comeback.

Young, who struck out in his first at-bat, drove in three runs and scored twice Friday for the Rangers in their home opener, a 12-4 win over the Anaheim Angels.

“I just threw them away,” Young said of his errors on consecutive plays in the second. “I may have been rushing the plays a little bit, it might have had something to do with adrenaline. The biggest thing, I didn’t let those affect me.”

After the errors led to three unearned runs, Young’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning tied the game at 3. The Rangers led for good after he scored on Hank Blalock’s RBI single.

Young added an RBI single in a five-run third and his sacrifice fly in the sixth capped the Texas scoring. He also fielded his only other two fielding chances cleanly.

“Mike is a leader, it showed right there,” said rookie catcher Gerald Laird, who went 3-for-5. “He came back and held us up at the plate and made some good plays. That’s what us young guys look up to.”

After opening the season with a three-game sweep of Seattle, the Angels missed a chance to start 4-0 for the first time since 1970. The loss left Detroit (4-0) as the only unbeaten team in the major leagues, a year after the Tigers started 0-9.

Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench and Hank Blalock, who snapped an 0-for-13 stretch with three hits, all homered for the Rangers. Texas had 18 hits.

R.A. Dickey (1-0) pitched seven solid innings—the only three runs he allowed were unearned after Young’s errors.

Young moved from second base to shortstop when A-Rod, who won the last two Gold Gloves, was traded just before spring training. Young had 14 fielding chances without an error in the opening three games at Oakland.

“Any learning curve I’m going to have at shortstop is going to be a short one,” said Young, who was a minor league shortstop before Texas got A-Rod. “I know I will be able to go out and make the adjustment.”

The Rangers believe that as well. They gave him a $10 million, four-year contract extension this week.

But on his first play at home, Young fielded Jose Guillen’s grounder and threw wide of first base. Tim Salmon then grounded to Young, whose throw to force out Guillen was wide of Alfonso Soriano, the second baseman who came from the Yankees in the A-Rod deal.

An out later, No. 9 hitter Adam Kennedy hit a three-run homer on a golf-like swing at a pitch just inches off the ground for a 3-1 lead.

Nix’s solo homer in the second came before consecutive doubles by Laird and Young tied the game. Blalock followed with an RBI single off Ramon Ortiz (0-1), pushing home Young with the go-ahead run.

“It doesn’t surprise anybody in our dugout,” manager Buck Showalter said of Young’s comeback. “Michael’s the same guy when things are going well or going poorly.”

After Young’s RBI single in the third, Blalock hit a three-run homer off Aaron Sele, pushing the lead to 9-3. The sacrifice fly by Young in the sixth made it 12-3.

Dickey, the Rangers’ 1996 No. 1 draft pick. struck out five and scattered six hits over seven innings. He didn’t have a walk while throwing 75 of 108 pitches for strikes.

“He made some good pitches. He was on my hands all day long,” said Salmon, who was 0-for-4 to drop to .059 this season. “He broke a lot of bats. It wasn’t just me. There were a lot in the dugout.”

Texas starters have a 2.33 ERA (seven earned runs over 27 innings) after compiling the worst staff ERA in the majors three of the last four seasons, including last year. The only starter who didn’t go at least seven innings was Colby Lewis, and he got a win by pitching 5 1-3 innings at Oakland.

Ortiz gave up seven runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings, with four strikeouts and a walk. Sele, the first-time reliever after 11 major league seasons as a starter, allowed five runs and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings.

Troy Glaus’ third homer made it 12-4 in the eighth.

Notes

The only Texas starter without a hit was Brad Fullmer, who played for Anaheim the last two seasons. … The crowd of 50,370 was the largest ever for a regular-season game at The Ballpark in Arlington, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The only larger crowds were for the 1995 All-Star game and an AL playoff game against the Yankees in 1996. … Soriano, who had three errors the first three games, had four chances without a miscue. … The 12 runs were the most scored by the Rangers in a home opener. They are 17-16 in homeopeners, 5-6 at The Ballpark.

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