Rangers come out swinging, spoil Big A opener
Gallo, Guzman homer in 5-run first as Texas takes first road game
ANAHEIM -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward was asked before his team took the field on Thursday night what’s the key to being a good offensive team on the road.
“Score first,” Woodward said without missing a beat. “I love putting pressure on teams early. It kind of unravels their whole plan.”
The Rangers followed instructions to the letter in their first road game of the season. Home runs from Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzmán gave the Rangers a five-run lead in the first and they didn't let up, spoiling the Angels’ home opener with an 11-4 victory at Angel Stadium.
The Rangers’ offensive outburst led to their fifth win in seven games to start the season and reversed the road opener woes they’ve been fighting through for 15 years. The Rangers had lost six straight and 13 of their last 15 road openers before Thursday night. Five of those losses were to the Angels.
“It’s going really well for me, personally, and the team,” Gallo said. “Starting out 5-2, nobody thought we would do that. We did. We’re doing a lot of things well, and it’s exciting.”
This was also an encouraging first step for a team that has hit much better at home than on the road the past few years. Over the previous two seasons, the Rangers had a .681 OPS and averaged 4.04 runs per game on the road. At home, the Rangers had a .792 OPS and averaged 5.44 runs per game.
The Rangers, with the home runs coming off Angels starter Matt Harvey, have now gone deep in their first seven games, tying for the third-longest streak to open the season in club history. They went deep in 10 straight to start the 2009 season and nine straight in ‘17.
Gallo entered the game with seven walks, tied for the most in the American League and a testament to his patience at the plate. But, with two on and one out in the first, he jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Harvey and drove it high over the center-field wall for a three-run home run.
“If they throw me a strike, I’m going to hit it,” Gallo said. “I am not in a take mode. I’m trying to make smart decisions. If it’s a strike, I’m always ready to hit.”
After Asdrubal Cabrera drew a walk, Guzman followed with a different kind of shot. He smashed a line drive down the right-field line that clipped the foul pole for a two-run home run, giving the Rangers a 5-0 lead.
“It was Opening Day for them here and everybody was excited,” Guzman said. “But we were able to jump out on them and just kept it rolling.”
Rangers starter Edinson Volquez didn’t hang around long enough to get the win. He was done after 3 2/3 innings, having allowed home runs to Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout. But both came with nobody on base. Volquez did walk four, but he was able to keep those from crossing the plate.
Choo gets 1,500th hit
Shin-Soo Choo led off the second inning with a single, giving him 1,500 hits for his career. It is the most by a player from Korea and the second-most by a player from the Far East, trailing only Ichiro Suzuki.
“I am always proud when I am the first Asian player to do something, or the first Korean player,” Choo said. “To get 1,500 hits, I never had 200 hits in a season, but I have played a long time. This year and next year, maybe a couple more after that, maybe get to 2,000."
Choo’s 1,501st hit was also big. He had a two-out, three-run double in the fifth inning that gave the Rangers a 9-2 lead.