ARLINGTON -- The Rangers didn't put on any wild celebrations in the clubhouse after their 3-2 Opening Day victory over the Mariners on Monday.Instead, the Rangers seemed to alternate between soft chuckles over their good fortune and obvious pride over the way they pulled out a victory despite just one
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers didn't put on any wild celebrations in the clubhouse after their 3-2 Opening Day victory over the Mariners on Monday.
Instead, the Rangers seemed to alternate between soft chuckles over their good fortune and obvious pride over the way they pulled out a victory despite just one bloop single on the afternoon.
"It was a little weird," said designated hitter Prince Fielder, the club's leading hitter so far this season at 1-for-4.
The Rangers, going up against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, are the first team since at least 1900 to win on Opening Day despite getting one or fewer hits. It was also the second time in franchise history Texas has won a game during which the club has recorded just one hit.
"It was nice … not easy," said Adrian Beltre, who had the game-winning RBI on a grounder that should have been an inning-ending double play.
"You look at that game, it was interesting," closer Shawn Tolleson said. "To come out on top like that maybe says something about our team and the way we battled. You win a few like that during the regular season, it can go a long way."
Hernandez, who was handed the loss, went 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA against the Rangers in 2015.
"We just continued to grind out at-bats against a great pitcher," manager Jeff Banister said. "We did something we weren't able to do last year, and that was put runs on the board against Felix. We are just going to continue to run hard, play hard and put the ball in play."
This is the second year in a row that the Rangers managed just one hit on Opening Day. Ryan Rua had their only hit in 2015 in an 8-0 loss to the Athletics, and the Rangers also had just one walk in that game. On Monday afternoon, they worked six walks, had a hit batter and took advantage of two huge Mariners errors.
Despite the one hit -- a single by Fielder in the three-run fifth inning -- seven of nine Rangers starters were still able to reach base. Hernandez walked in one run in the fifth inning, Fielder drove in another run with his single and the go-ahead run scored when shortstop Ketel Marte fumbled Beltre's grounder for an error.
"Gritty, hard-fought game," center fielder Delino DeShields said. "That's exactly what we wanted. That was the epitome of an Opening Day matchup … two great starters on the mound battling all the way to get the win. It was a hard-fought game and we came out on top."
Rangers starter Cole Hamels came out on top, holding the Mariners to two runs in seven innings. He gave up a home run to Robinson Cano in the first and Kyle Seager in the second and then responded with five scoreless innings. The Mariners had just two singles the rest of the afternoon after Seager led off the second with a home run that gave them a 2-0 lead.
"We just stuck to the game plan," Hamels said. "Move the ball around, change speeds and not leave too many pitches down the middle. Their whole lineup can hit the ball out of the park, so it's about execution and making pitches."
Left-handed reliever Jake Diekman set down the side in order in the eighth, and Tolleson struck out two of three in the ninth to close out the victory.
"Games like this aren't going to be easy when you are going up against a guy like Felix," Hamels said. "He is one of the best in the game, so you have to find a way. At the end of the day, it was enough."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.