Matt Harrison Shuts Down Red Sox To Finish Rangers Sweep

The Texas Rangers swept the Boston Red Sox on Sunday as Matt Harrison picked up the win in Texas' 5-1 victory.

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12 Total Updates since April 1, 2011
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What The Rangers Learned Against Boston

It seems almost irrational to be this excited about only three games but it's safe to say that a statement was made to the rest of the American League about just where the William Harridge Trophy resides and what any contender will have to battle if they have a desire to claim it.

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Rangers Complete Dream Sweep Over Red Sox Behind Matt Harrison, Home Runs

Rangers fans have experienced several Aprils where everything seemed to go wrong. The 2011 season opened with a weekend where everything went right. Playing in front of a Rangers Ballpark record setting opening series crowd, The Rangers hit four more home runs – all solo shots – to run their series total to 11 and rode seven strong innings by Matt Harrison to win 5-1 and complete a sweep of the preseason AL favorite Boston Red Sox.

Harrison cruised through six innings, allowing three hits and no walks and striking out seven. In the seventh, he allowed two hits and walked his first two batters, but battled through, striking out Jacoby Ellsbury to end the threat after allowing just one run.

Meanwhile, four of the Rangers’ five hits off of Clay Buchholz were home runs by David Murphy, Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz. The first four batters reached in the ninth, during Jonathan Papelbon’s first inning of the season, plating an insurance run, before Neftali Feliz pitched a perfect ninth.

The Rangers will host the Seattle Mariners in a three game set starting Monday in a series pitting the early AL West leaders.

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Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz Set Two Records

According to STATS, Inc., via ESPN.com, Ian Kinsler became the first player in major league history to lead off his team’s first two games with a home run. Kinsler homered off of Jon Lester and John Lackey in the bottom of the first Friday and Saturday. Clay Buchholz walked him on five pitches to start the game Sunday, but Kinsler homered in his second plate appearance. The Red Sox then walked and hit Kinsler in his next two PAs.

Nelson Cruz did his best to match Kinsler by homering in all three games himself. His dinger Sunday was the second ever hit into the upper deck in right field by a right handed batter at Rangers Ballpark, according to Rangers long time radio play-by-play announcer Eric Nadel. The two became the first pair in major league history to hit home runs in each of their first three games of a season.

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Texas Rangers Vs. Boston Red Sox: Matt Harrison, Rangers Look To Complete Sweep

Boston Red Sox (0-2) at Texas Rangers (2-0)

Starting Pitchers: Buchholz (0-0), Harrison (0-0)

The defending American League champions are playing just like that: American League champions. The Texas Rangers have started out the season 2-0 against the media darling and preseason favorite Boston Red Sox, winning on Opening Day 9-5 and scorching John Lackey on Saturday en route to a 12-5 win. Now on Sunday, the Rangers will look to sweep the Red Sox.

Matt Harrison will make his first start of 2011 for the Rangers. Harrison made only six starts for Texas last year, but did make 31 appearances out of the bullpen as well. Harrison went 3-2 with 2 saves and a hold last year for Texas while posting a 4.71 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. Harrison pitched well this spring, holding opposing batters to a .224 average in 23 innings of work.

Harrison will be opposed by Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox. Buchholz was excellent for Boston in 2010, going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Buchholz will look to tame the Rangers' offense, which has exploded in the first two games of the year. 

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Rangers 12, Red Sox 5: Texas Improves To 2-0

(Saturday, April 2nd)
Final Score: Texas 12, Boston 5

Arlington, TX (Sports Network) – Ian Kinsler smacked another leadoff home run and Adrian Beltre hit a grand slam in another powerful offensive performance, leading the Texas Rangers to a 12-5 win over the Boston Red Sox.

According to the Rangers, Kinsler was the first player in major league history to hit leadoff home runs in his team’s first two games of the season. He sparked Texas’ 9-5 win in the season-opener on Friday.

Yorvit Torrealba added a two-run homer and Nelson Cruz had a solo blast for the reigning American League champions, who will go for the three-game series sweep on Sunday.

Backed by a slew of runs, Colby Lewis (1-0) earned the win while giving up three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out four.

John Lackey (0-1) took the loss after giving up nine runs and 10 hits in just 3 2/3 innings. David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury belted two-run homers for the Red Sox, who opened the season 0-2 for the first time since 2005.

Kinsler drove Lackey’s 3-1 pitch — a 90 mph fastball - just over the left center field wall to give Texas a 1-0 lead.

Still, the Rangers had to come from behind for the win after Ortiz, who hit a solo homer on Friday, belted a two-run shot off Lewis in the second inning.

Texas went ahead 3-2 when Elvis Andrus tripled home Kinsler in the third, then scored on Josh Hamilton’s single. Boston tied it on Ortiz’s RBI groundout in the top of the fourth, but the Rangers blew the game open with six runs in the bottom of the inning.

The first two runs came on Julio Borbon’s triple and Andrus’ double, but Beltre delivered the real blow when he hammered a 1-0 pitch into the first row of seats in left-center, making it 9-3.

Michael Young followed with a single, knocking Lackey out of the game, but was stranded at first.

The Rangers, after lifting their first-ever AL championship flag, have now scored 21 runs against the team many picked to win the pennant this year. They needed a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth to beat Boston in the opener on Friday, but cruised through the final 4 1/2 innings of this one.

Texas added two runs in the fifth inning on Torrealba’s blast and another in the sixth on Cruz’s homer, which made it 12-3. Boston got its final two runs when Ellsbury homered off Mason Tobin in the seventh.

Game Notes

Lewis continued to shine after going 3-0 in the postseason for Texas last year…Lackey has struggled against the Rangers and carried a 5.74 ERA against them into the game. He fell to 11-13 versus Texas — his most losses against any team.

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Texas Rangers Vs. Boston Red Sox: Colby Lewis Faces Off Against John Lackey

Boston Red Sox (0-1) at Texas Rangers (1-0)
Starting Pitchers:
John Lackey (0-0) vs. Colby Lewis (0-0)

The defending American League champion Texas Rangers started off 2011 with some late inning heroics and a 9-5 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday. Today, they'll try to earn their first series win of the young season as Colby Lewis takes the mound for the Rangers to face John Lackey of the Red Sox.

The Rangers beat the Red Sox on Opening Day, thanks to David Murphy's pinch hit two-run double which gave Texas a 7-5 lead in the eighth inning. Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton added RBI doubles as the Rangers went onto win 9-5. Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli all homered for the Rangers in the win.

Colby Lewis draws the start for Texas today, and he'll look to build on his success 2010 campaign. Lewis returned to the majors last year after pitching in Japan since 2008 and went 12-13 for the Rangers. His sub-.500 record was not a true indication of how well he pitched, though. Lewis struck out 196 batters in 201 innings while posting a 1.19 WHIP and a 3.72 ERA.

Lewis will be opposed by John Lackey, who is entering his second year as a member of the Red Sox. Lackey's first year a bit of a failure as he went 14-11 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.42 WHIP while only striking out 156 in 215 innings of work. 

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Opening Day 2011: Rangers' Eighth Inning Rally Leads Texas Past Boston

It might not have been pretty, but the Texas Rangers started off 2011 with a win. An eighth inning rally, led by David Murphy's two run double, led the Rangers to victory as Texas broke a 5-5 tie with four runs in the bottom half of the eighth.

The Red Sox drew first blood, scoring twice in the first thanks to an error by Julio Borbon. Borbon's error led to a run scoring double by Kevin Youkilis and run scoring single by Adrian Gonzalez to give Boston a 2-0 lead. 

Texas would respond quickly, though, as Ian Kinsler belted a leadoff home run off of Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester. Nelson Cruz homered in the second inning to tie the game.

Boston retook the lead in the fourth inning when Gonzalez laced a bases loaded single to center, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia.

Mike Napoli, one of the newest members of the Rangers endeared himself to the home crowd at Arlington as he gave the Rangers a 5-4 lead after belting a three-run home run off of Lester in the fourth inning. 

Texas' bullpen was unable to preserve the lead after C.J. Wilson was chased after just 5.2 innings of work. Mark Lowe recorded an out in the sixth to escape a jam before Arthur Rhodes pitched a scoreless seventh to record a hold. Darren Oliver was not so lucky, as he gave up a game tying solo home run to David Ortiz in the eighth inning.

The Rangers bailed Oliver out, though, scoring four times in the eighth inning. David Murphy hit a pinch hit double down the left field line to give Texas a 7-5 lead, scoring both Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba. Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton both added RBI doubles to give Texas a 9-5 lead, a score they'd win by. 

Game Recap:

Winning Pitcher: Darren Oliver (1-0)
Losing Pitcher: Daniel Bard (0-1)

Home Runs: Texas: Kinsler (1), Cruz (1), Napoli (1); Boston: Ortiz (1)

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Opening Day 2011: Texas Rangers Vs. Boston Red Sox

The official Opening Day in Major League Baseball was yesterday, but Opening Day for the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers begins today. The Rangers will send lefty C.J. Wilson to the mound on Opening Day in Arlington as the Texas Rangers begin their pennant defense.

Today's game will be a firsts for many - it will be Wilson's first Opening Day start as well as Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli's first game as members of the Rangers. Beltre was signed to a five-year deal with an option for a sixth year over the winter after the Rangers failed to re-sign lefty ace Cliff Lee. Beltre will serve as Texas' third baseman this year, taking over for Michael Young, who has now been relegated to the role of designated hitter and utility infielder.

Napoli was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for relief pitcher Frank Francisco. Napoli was sent to Toronto from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a trade that landed Vernon Wells in Anaheim.

There will be plenty of familiar faces returning for the Rangers, including reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton and Rookie of the Year award winner Neftali Feliz, who will remain the closer for the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers will be facing perhaps the preseason favorite to win the World Series as they take on the Boston Red Sox. Boston had perhaps the best offseason of any team in Major League Baseball, trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Carl Crawford to a multi-year deal. Boston also bolstered their bullpen by signing Bobby Jenks to serve as a setup man. 

The Red Sox will be sending lefty Jon Lester to the mound. Lester went 19-9 in 2010 for Boston, posting a 3.25 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP while striking out 225 in 208 innings of work.

Today's game can be seen on a nationwide broadcast as well on ESPN. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. EST, 3:05 p.m. local.

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Season's First Preview

The Rangers start their AL title defense against the team most expect to take their crown. How do the two teams look on Opening Day?

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