On opening day, the Philadelphia Phillies did two things well that they struggled to do all spring: hit the ball and score runs.
The visiting Phillies will look for another strong offensive performance Tuesday night when they take on the Texas Rangers in the second of a three-game interleague series.Philadelphia started the season Monday with a 14-10 win, getting 17 hits -- six for extra bases -- and going 7 for 17 with runners in scoring position. Jimmy Rollins, who tied Cal Ripken's major league record by starting his 14th consecutive opener at shortstop for the same franchise, hit a grand slam for the 200th home run of his career.Rollins became the 19th player in major league history with at least 400 doubles, 100 triples and 200 homers.The Phillies' performance was a surprise after they hit a major league-low .222 in spring training and scored the second-fewest runs with 102.Ben Revere went 3 for 6 with three RBIs, Chase Utley also had three hits in six at-bats and Cody Asche went 3 for 4 with a homer and four runs."J-Roll, with the big pop early, just really set the tone and got things going," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "I think it was contagious after that."The Rangers will turn to left-hander Martin Perez to try to slow down the Phillies. Perez, who has never faced Philadelphia, was 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts last season."I'm going to be ready," Perez said. "I'm going to be good."Perez will be opposed by A.J. Burnett, who will be pitching for his third team in four years after signing a one-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies.Burnett, who went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA for Pittsburgh last season, struggled in the spring with a 6.05 ERA in five starts. The right-hander walked nine in 19 1/3 innings, but he doesn't seem concerned."When you get under the lights, it's different," Burnett said. "It'll be OK."Texas scored seven runs in the first three innings Monday but scored twice and had three hits over the final four."Everybody played their hardest, it just didn't work out," first baseman Prince Fielder told the team's official website. "It was just one of those days. It was a lot of fun, it just didn't work out."Fielder, acquired in an offseason trade with Detroit, was 1 for 5 in his Texas debut. Alex Rios went 3 for 5 with a three-run homer and three runs, and Josh Wilson also drove in three.Fielder is 4 for 14 (.286) with two home runs against Burnett, who is 3-1 in seven starts in Arlington despite posting a 4.46 ERA. He last pitched there Sept. 11, earning the win after allowing five runs in 6 1/3 innings.Philadelphia has won seven of 10 all-time meetings with Texas.
Ryan Howard is batting 5th for the Phillies tonight in Texas, his first start outside the cleanup spot since June 29, 2008...
He had batted 4th in 665 straight starts since then.
(Coincidentally, that game was also in Texas against the Rangers)