Reporting Dan Roche
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Pinch-hitter David Murphy delivered a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning and the Texas Rangers rallied for a 9-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday after raising their American League championship flag.
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche has postgame reaction
Murphy’s slicing liner to the opposite field off hard-throwing Daniel Bard kicked up chalk when it landed and rolled into the left-field corner. That sent Rangers newcomers Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba home to break a 5-all tie. Murphy scored on a double by Elvis Andrus before another double by AL MVP Josh Hamilton.
Napoli, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz all homered for Texas, which played its season opener exactly five months after a Game 5 loss to San Francisco at home ended its first World Series.
Darren Oliver, the third Texas reliever, got the victory even after allowing a homer to David Ortiz in the top of the eighth that tied it at 5.
Murphy pinch-hit for No. 9 batter Julio Borbon, the center fielder whose two-base error on the first play of the game led to the Red Sox scoring a pair of unearned runs. Borbon remained a starter even after five errors in 21 spring training games, a move that allows the Rangers to play Hamilton in left but relegates Murphy to the bench.
Napoli had reached on a walk before a single by Torrealba, the team’s new catcher.
Adrian Gonzalez had two hits and drove in three runs in his Boston debut. The first baseman was one of two All-Stars the Red Sox added this winter after missing the playoffs. The other, left fielder Carl Crawford, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts while leaving a runner in scoring position each at-bat.
Napoli pulled a pitch down the left-field line in the fourth for a three-run shot off left-hander Jon Lester, putting Texas up 5-4 and sending the sellout crowd of 50,146 into a frenzy.
Napoli played the last five seasons with the AL West rival Angels, though he was traded in January to Toronto, which four days later sent him to the Rangers for reliever Frank Francisco. Napoli started at first base ahead of Mitch Moreland, who was the Rangers’ top hitter in the World Series as a rookie last season.
Kinsler returned to the top of the Texas order where he primarily hit in 2009 and started the season with a homer to make it 2-1. That extended his team record with his 14th career leadoff homer.
An inning later, the Rangers tied the game on a towering drive by Cruz that dropped just behind the 14-foot wall in left. C.J. Wilson, who won a Rangers-best 15 games last year when he made the transition from the bullpen to the rotation, struck out six with two walks in 5 2-3 innings. The crafty left-hander gave up four runs.
Lester gave up five runs over 5 1-3 innings without a strikeout. He hit two batters with pitches and gave up three homers. While Texas was coming off its first AL pennant, the Red Sox reloaded after missing the playoffs for only the second time in an eight-year span that included two World Series titles.
Gonzalez broke the 2-all tie in the third with a two-out, two-run single.
Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury, who finished with two hits and scored twice, opened the game with a fly to right-center. Borbon knocked the ball away from right fielder Cruz as he was about to make the catch. Ellsbury scored on a two-out RBI double by Kevin Youkilis and Gonzalez drove in a run in his first Red Sox at-bat before being thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double.
Gonzalez, whose major league debut came with Texas in 2004, was a three-time All-Star in San Diego before being traded this winter to Boston. He was limited some in spring training while rehabilitating from offseason surgery on his right shoulder, but started strong.
Crawford spent his first nine major league seasons with Tampa Bay, where his last game with the Rays was the deciding Game 5 of the AL division series last October against Texas.
Crawford, who hit third, had a weak infield popout in the first.
He struck out in the third, fifth and seventh.
NOTES: The last Ranger with a leadoff homer in an opener was Oddibe McDowell in 1987 at Baltimore. … It was the third straight year Boston opened the season against the defending AL champion.
The Red Sox beat the New York Yankees last year and Tampa Bay in the 2009 opener. … Just more than two hours before the first pitch, $15 standing-room only tickets were listed for $54 on StubHub, and the cheapest seat was $59 in an upper reserved area that would usually be $17.
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