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  • Eric Martinez

Texas Rangers home opener prompts extra innings with controversial loss

Excitement could be felt in the air as fans poured into Globe Life Field for the first time this season. Texas Rangers are coming off of a 3 game road series (1-2) with the Toronto Blue Jays. Opening Day features an opponent in Colorado Rockies that just won the series against potential World Series favorite, Los Angeles Dodgers. Orion Jean threw out the First Pitch of the season. The sixth-grade Mansfield, TX native went viral nationwide for his efforts of “spreading kindness” and being a community leader at such a young age.

Starting pitcher on the mound for the Rangers was a DFW homegrown kid. Twenty-seven year old Taylor Hearn is originally from Royse City, TX, a suburb of Dallas, TX. He opened the game striking out the first batter that he faced, Charlie Blackmon. As the top of the first continued, newly acquired Kris Bryant doubled to left field putting him in scoring position. The Rockies struck first when C.J. Cron tripled to center to go up 1-0. Texas Rangers went scoreless for 4 innings against Rockies starting pitcher Austin Gomber.

The bottom of the fourth inning started with Rangers’ Adolis Garcia getting walked and eventually score a run to tie the game by Nate Lowe doubling to right field for an RBI. An excitement drew over the crowd in the bottom of the fifth inning when Adolis Garcia singled to left field, scoring Charlie Culberson and Corey Seager to take a 3 to 1 lead into the 6th inning. Garcia impressed the coaching staff going 2 for 3, scoring 1 run and 2 RBIs.

The Rangers went to the bullpen the remainder of the game, inserting Dennis Santana that only allowed 1 hit in the sixth inning with no runs, but relief pitcher Matt Bush came in the 7th inning and gave up 1 hit for an earned run, Rockies cut the lead 2 to 3 in the top of the 7th inning.

Texas was not able to generate more runs going into the top of the 8th. That was a crucial statistic in the game, as it seemed the Rockies would not stop fighting.

The Rockies capitalized on Rangers pitcher Brett Martin in the top of the 8th when two base runners reached bases, and Charlie Blackmon drove in a run with a fielder’s choice to tie the game 3-3. Opening the 9th inning, Rangers manager Chris Woodward, made the decision to bring up relief pitcher Joe Barlow. Barlow gave up 2 hits (1 homerun, and one earned run) vs. the Blue Jays over the weekend. The first batter that Barlow faced was Rockies C.J. Cron. As fast as the ball was thrown to home plate was as fast as it left the ballpark. Cron sent a 451 feet home run to left center giving the Rockies a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the 9th. The air in the stadium deflated. There was a gasp of disappointment felt in the Globe Life Field.

A rally was needed, and a moon shot was delivered. Rangers made the right decision in the bottom of the 9th when Manager Chris Woodward sent in pinch-hitter Willie Calhoun. Brad Miller and Kyle Calhoun contributed to 2 outs in the inning. Willie Calhoun was patient at the plate and belted a 402-foot homerun to right field to tie the game 4-4. The cheer in the stadium was felt in the stands and in the bullpen. Extra innings were coming on Opening Day.

In 2020, Major League Baseball changed the regular season extra inning rules. The same rule was rolled over this year and accepted during the winter meetings. When the innings start, there will be a runner at second (scoring position). The Colorado Rockies took full advantage of this rule as Jose Iglesias drove in Grichuk to take the 5-4 lead in the top of the 10th inning. To secure the game, Rangers relief pitcher also gave up a 382 foot homerun to the next batter, Connor Joe, to give Rockies a 6-4 lead going into the bottom of the 10th inning.

The Rangers could not take advantage of the MLB extra innings rule. Corey Seager struck out as the first batter. Mitch Garver drew a walk, and then controversy came. With Mitch Garver on first base, batter Adolis Garcia grounded to the shortstop that threw to second and then first. Garver was called out at second base, but a wild throw sent the ball past first base. Kudos to Colorado Rockies bench as they challenged the play. It was determined that Mitch Garver interfered with the second baseman when making the throw to first base, and by rule the batter running to first is then called out. It resulted in a double play to end the game with the entire stadium in confusion and anger.

To recap this game, Colorado drove in 6 runs on 14 hits while Rangers drove in 4 on 9 hits. Rangers look to even the series on Tuesday evening and are hopeful the bullpen can contribute with efficient innings and low runs earned. The final score for the Home Opener tallied Colorado Rockies 6, Texas Rangers 4. Winning Pitcher for Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (1-0), Losing Pitcher for Texas Rangers: Greg Holland (0-1), Save (COL): Ashton Goudeau (1)

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