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Phillies win opening slugest vs. Rangers

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There is little Cliff Lee will want to remember about his return to Texas, save the outcome.

The Philadelphia Phillies made a winner out of Lee, prevailing in Monday afternoon's 14-10 slugfest over the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

"It was definitely an offensive game," Lee said. "I felt like they hit good pitches and they hit pitches I left over the middle. Fortunately, we just outscored them. It was just an offensive game, a lot of runs.

"I don't like being on the pitching side of that, but fortunately we outscored them and got the win, which is the main thing."

Lee (1-0) worked the minimum five innings and was knocked around pretty good in the process. The left-handed veteran was back in Arlington for the first time since helping lead the Rangers to the 2010 World Series.

His only previous Opening Day start was nearly a forgettable as this one -- seven earned runs allowed on 10 hits for Cleveland on April 6, 2009 -- but the Indians lost that game 9-1.

The eight runs on 11 hits Lee gave up against Texas hurt, but the number done by Philadelphia's hitters against a Texas staff fronted by Tanner Scheppers more than made up for it.

Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins, making his 14 consecutive Opening Day start, hit a grand slam and center fielder Ben Revere went 3-for-6 and had three RBIs. Third baseman Cody Asche went 3-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBIs. Nine different Phillies had hits and the team racked up 17, including three home runs.

"Offensively, everybody came alive at the same time," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said after his debut. "The potential is there and there is no better time than Opening Day to break out."

Under normal circumstances, Texas would have sent AL Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish to the hill to start the season. Darvish went on the disabled list with neck stiffness in spring training, and Texas manager Ron Washington opted for Scheppers, a former reliever.

Washington admitted that Scheppers could have been dealing with nerves.

"He could have been," Washington said. "We tried getting him to calm down in the dugout and let it go."

So while Lee hardly resembled an ace, Scheppers looked like a guy making his first MLB start before a packed house. The pitchers were roughed up to the tune of 14 runs on 17 hits through four innings.

The Phillies got to Scheppers in the second with six runs, highlighted by Rollins' two-out grand slam. Philadelphia benefited from three walks in the inning, with each coming around to score.

Remarkably, Scheppers took the mound in the fourth with the lead. Texas answered with four runs in the bottom of the second off Lee to get back in the game.

Center fielder Leonys Martin singled with the bases loaded to get the Rangers on the board with a run before second baseman Josh Wilson doubled to left to clear the bases. Texas went up 7-6 on right fielder Alex Rios' three-run shot into the left-field bullpen in the third.

The Phillies got a run back in the fourth on second baseman Chase Utley's RBI single. Scheppers finished the inning, but didn't come back in the fifth after giving up seven earned runs on eight hits.

Texas reliever Pedro Figueroa immediately found trouble in the fifth. After giving up a hit and a walk, pinch hitter John Mayberry doubled to center to give Philadelphia a 9-7 advantage.

The Rangers narrowed the gap to 9-8 with another run off Lee in the fifth. Martin's single scored catcher J.P. Arencibia, who had doubled with two outs.

"There are of lot of things to be happy about today," Washington said, referring to the early comeback and Texas' overall showing at the plate. "We just didn't pitch it as well as we would have liked."

NOTES: The game marked the 13th season opener in MLB history in which both teams scored at least 10 runs. It was also the highest scoring game (24 runs) on Opening Day in Texas history. ... The Rangers-Phillies meeting on May 31 was the earliest date for interleague game in MLB history. It also marked the first AL opponent for Philadelphia on Opening Day. ... RHP Tanner Scheppers was the sixth different Opening Day starter for Texas in the last six years. Scheppers is also just the second pitcher since 1945 to make his first career start on Opening Day. Fernando Valenzuela was the last in 1980 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Philadelphia SS Jimmy Rollins made his 14th straight Opening Day start, breaking the NL record for consecutive starts by a shortstop for the same franchise. Dave Concepcion held the record at 13 for Cincinnati.
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