Rangers' top 5 Opening Day moments
In their relatively short franchise history, the Rangers have had memorable Opening Day moments.
From the very first MLB game in Arlington to games that kicked off American League pennant runs, here are the top five Texas Opening Day moments.
1) Rangers 7, Angels 6 -- April 21, 1972
The Rangers, after moving from Washington, D.C., were supposed to open the season at home. But the players strike delayed the start of the season and the first game ever for the Texas Rangers was a 1-0 loss to the Angels on April 15 in Anaheim. The Rangers finally opened at home on April 21 at Arlington Stadium and 20,105 fans watched them hold on for a 7-6 victory over the Angels. Frank Howard, who was the marquee player when the team was in Washington, celebrated the arrival of baseball in Texas with a first-inning home run.
2) Rangers 2, Yankees 1 -- April 8, 1978
The Rangers won a club-record 94 games in 1977, so excitement and interest in the Rangers were overflowing going into the next season. There were 40,078 fans at Arlington Stadium on a Saturday afternoon when the Rangers opened the season with a 2-1 victory over the Yankees.
Richie Zisk, the Rangers' big offseason free-agent signing, won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off home run against Yankees reliever Rich “Goose” Gossage. The Rangers won a dazzling pitching duel between Jon Matlack, another big offseason acquisition, and Ron Guidry, who went on to win the Cy Young Award that season.
3) Rangers 5, Blue Jays 4 -- April 5, 2010
The Rangers trailed 4-3 going into the ninth before rallying to win. There were 50,299 fans at the Ballpark in Arlington to see the Rangers take their first step toward winning their first American League pennant.
Ninth-inning doubles by Michael Young and Nelson Cruz and a walk-off single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia won it for the Rangers. Saltalamacchia had a strained right shoulder when the season opened. He played in just two games before going on the injured list. He did not play for the Rangers again that season and was traded to the Red Sox in July.
4) Rangers 12, Mariners 10 -- April 6, 1992
This was a big pitching matchup between two future Hall of Famers with Nolan Ryan pitching for the Rangers against Randy Johnson for the Mariners. Instead, it became an offensive battle with the Mariners taking an 8-3 lead into the eighth before the Rangers struck for nine runs, all crossing the plate with two outs.
Backup catcher Geno Petralli, pinch-hitting for second baseman Al Newman, put the Rangers ahead with a three-run home run. Ryan and Johnson combined for 627 career wins between them but the winning pitcher in this one was reliever Steve Fireovid, just the third and final win of his career.
5) Rangers 9, Red Sox 5 -- April 1, 2011
Another pennant-winning season got off to a great start. The Rangers scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure the victory. David Murphy put the Rangers ahead with a pinch-hit two-run double. The Rangers' first run came on a leadoff home run by Ian Kinsler.