The Houston Astros are on top of the AL West standings for at least a few hours after beating the Texas Rangers on Major League Baseball’s opening night.
The Astros have been a perennial 100 loss team the last few years, but they looked rather talented on Sunday night. As has been the case for the last couple of seasons, MLB has chosen to have one game the night before the season gets going.
This year the game featured one of most recent powers of the American League West against the American League’s most recent addition. The Astros had played in the National League for every year of their existence before moving over to the AL to start the 2013 campaign.
Bud Norris took the mound for Houston against Matt Harrison, and the two pitchers looked like they hand things well in hand for the first three innings. In the fourth, the worst team in baseball the last two years put up a two-spot thanks to Justin Maxwell’s first of two triples in the game.
This triple drove in two runs and the Houston Astros offense was off and running. In the third inning, Ronnie Cedeno hit what should have been a single to right, but Victor Cruz booted the ball and as it rolled around, a run score, and, Cedeno reached third.
5’5″ Jose Altuve drove Cedeno in and the Astros held a 4-0 lead after four innings. The Rangers were able to battle back to within 4-2 in the top of the sixth inning but Houston blew the game in the bottom of the frame.
Pinch hitter Rick Ankiel made the most of his lone at-bat by blasting a three run home run into the seats and giving his team all the cushion they would need.
With the victory, the Houston Astros not only start gave the season 1-0 but gave their new manager Bo Porter the first win of his managerial career.