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Rangers open new park with 3-hit shutout

@Sullivan_Ranger
July 25, 2020

ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Jonathan Hernández, trying to hold a one-run lead, started the eighth by giving up a single to David Dahl. Trevor Story then launched a drive to deep left-center. At the old ballpark across the street… “That would have probably been out of both ballparks,” Rockies manager

ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Jonathan Hernández, trying to hold a one-run lead, started the eighth by giving up a single to David Dahl. Trevor Story then launched a drive to deep left-center.

At the old ballpark across the street…

“That would have probably been out of both ballparks,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Trevor really hit that one on the screws. And again, it sort of died out there.”

The ball did just that. Center fielder Danny Santana ran the ball down in deep left-center as the Rangers held on for a 1-0 win on Friday night in their season opener and first game at Globe Life Field. Rougned Odor doubled home the Rangers' only run in the sixth inning and starter Lance Lynn combined with three relievers on a three-hit shutout.

Box score

“I told everybody when we came into the locker room, 'You can’t win ‘em all unless you win the first one,'” Lynn said. “It was a big thing, to be honest. We have a short season. Every win counts, and you’ve got to be locked in all game long every day. You can’t give one away. To win the first game at the new ballpark that actually matters is great.”

The Rangers had lost three straight on Opening Day, including Chris Woodward’s managerial debut last season. They had also lost six of their last seven Opening Days before winning this one.

“I've never been 1-0,” Woodward said. “I don't know. I'll tell you tomorrow. It feels pretty good right now.”

Lynn, making his first Opening Day start, wanted to set a tone for the rest of the Rangers' rotation -- and he did that, although he had to fight to get through six innings. Lynn allowed two hits and four walks while striking out nine and throwing 108 pitches.

“To be honest with you, the first three innings of the game was probably the most uncomfortable I've ever felt on the mound,” Lynn said. “It was, I don't even know how to explain it. As the game went on, I got better in my opinion. A lot of mis-pitches, just overamped when I was ahead in counts, and then I got myself in walk situations. But when it comes down to it, I didn't give up any runs, so that's what it's all about. I was able to make pitches when I needed to.”

Lynn is the third Rangers pitcher to go at least six scoreless in an Opening Day start. Jon Matlack threw nine scoreless in 1980 (a 1-0 Texas win in 12) and Charlie Hough shut out the Tigers in ‘89. Lynn is also the fourth Rangers pitcher to strike out nine on Opening Day. Nolan Ryan set that Opening Day record for the Rangers in ‘91, and it was tied by Colby Lewis in 2012 and Matt Harrison in '13.

“It's the riding fastball at the top of the zone at just the right height,” Black said. “Lance has a fastball he cuts in to the lefty and mixes in a breaking ball to certain hitters. It's one of those things where you only know how difficult it is against a certain pitcher if you're in the box. From television or from the side, you really can't notice the life on the ball.”

Rockies starter Germán Márquez took a no-hitter into the sixth before Santana doubled to left-center with one out. Santana took third on a wild pitch. Márquez struck out Joey Gallo, but Odor doubled to right-center to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

“Márquez is a good pitcher,” Odor said. “He was making good pitches tonight, that’s why he stayed in there so long. We stayed patient and kept competing, and that’s why we won the game.”

Veteran right-hander Jesse Chavez set the side down in order in the seventh, leaving Hernández to pitch the eighth against the top of the Rockies' order. Hernández has been thrust into an eighth-inning setup role due to an injury to Rafael Montero but handled the role well. After Story’s fly ball moved Dahl to second, Hernández struck out Charlie Blackmon, walked Nolan Arenado and struck out Daniel Murphy to end the threat.

“I looked at [bench coach Don Wakamatsu] to start the eighth inning,” Woodward said. “I was like, 'Well, I was hoping I could give him a little bit softer landing than a one-run game with the top of the Rockies' lineup. Four of the best top hitters in baseball.' But he got through it.”

José Leclerc, despite a leadoff walk, closed it out in the ninth for the save.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.