Texas can still score a lot of runs, even without any opening-day pop from its big offseason acquisitions.
Fortunately for the Rangers, they might not have to wait too much longer to get Yu Darvish back on the mound.
With their ace eligible to come off the disabled list as early as this weekend, the Rangers sent converted reliever Tanner Scheppers to the mound for opening day, and it didn't work out very well. The right-hander allowed seven two-out runs over four innings in his first career start, and the Rangers lost 14-10 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.
"We want to stop giving up runs with two outs," manager Ron Washington said. "Those are supposed to be the most difficult runs to get."
Philadelphia led 6-0 after Jimmy Rollins hit a grand slam in the second inning, but the Rangers came back to take a 7-6 lead off Cliff Lee (1-0) in his return to Texas. Scheppers and the bullpen were unable to make that hold up against the Phillies, who had 17 hits and their most runs in a season opener since 1900.
"I was extremely disappointed. You bear down there. My pitches were around the zone," Scheppers said. "I was just trying to be too fine with everything, trying to hit corners. Unfortunately, I put the guys in a big hole."
Darvish and left-handed starters Matt Harrison and Derek Holland are on the DL, clearing the way for Scheppers became the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 to make his first career start on opening day. Scheppers, who had 76 relief appearances last season, struck out two and walked three.
Josh Wilson, the journeyman starting at second base in place of injured Jurickson Profar, had a three-run double in the bottom of the second to make it 6-4. Texas went ahead on Alex Rios' three-run homer in the third.
John Mayberry Jr., a first-round draft pick by the Rangers in 2005 who never played for the big league club and was traded three years later, came up as a pinch hitter in the fifth and had a tiebreaking two-run double off Pedro Figueroa (0-1) for a 9-7 Phillies lead. Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche later added homers.
Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder, the big offseason additions for Texas after missing the playoffs last season for the first time in four years, were a combined 1 for 9. Fielder singled and scored on Rios' homer.
The Rangers still scored their most runs on opening day since a 10-4 win over the Chicago White Sox in 2000.
"Offensively, it was a good game for both teams," Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "That's a good sign when you're behind and start hitting."
Rollins matched Cal Ripken's major league record by starting his 14th consecutive opener at shortstop for the same franchise.
Lee matched his career high by allowing eight runs and struck out only one, but the left-hander made it through five innings in another less-than-stellar opener for him in the Rangers' home ballpark.
Lee got a nice ovation before pitching in Texas for the first time since starting for the Rangers in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series. The lefty also made a season-opening start here for Cleveland in 2009, when the then-reigning AL Cy Young Award winner allowed seven runs over five innings in a 9-1 loss.
"I don't like being on the pitching side of that, but fortunately we outscored them and got the win, the main thing," said Lee, who had a solid spring. "Jimmy hitting that grand slam busted it open. And we kept adding it on and we needed it, as it turned out."
NOTES: It was the earliest interleague game in MLB history. ... The front-row seat by the Rangers dugout where Nolan Ryan used to sit was occupied by former Rangers and Phillies player Michael Young, who retired during the offseason. ... The national anthem was performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, 20 years after they accompanied the late Van Cliburn, an award-winning classical pianist who lived in Fort Worth, for a stirring rendition before the first regular-season game ever played at the stadium.