MLB: Rangers look to build off Opening Day thriller against Cubs

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The Texas Rangers took the record-setting crowd at Globe Life Field on a thrill ride during their season-opening victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

After unfurling their World Series banner and following it up with a spirited win, the Rangers look for the same result on Saturday when they continue their three-game series against the Cubs in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers will receive their championship rings prior to the contest.

Jonah Heim redeemed himself for an earlier mental miscue by delivering an RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning in Texas’ 4-3 victory on Thursday. The win played out in front of the largest regular-season crowd (42,130) in the short history of Globe Life Field, as did his mistake in the ninth in which he allowed Michael Busch to score the go-ahead run from second base following a crazy sequence.

Let’s back up a bit. Chicago seized that 3-2 lead despite replays showing pinch hitter Miles Mastrobuoni’s bat making contact with a pitch by Jose Leclerc. Busch alertly scampered home as Heim, the catcher, lobbied with plate umpire Chad Fairchild that it was a foul tip as opposed to immediately retrieving the ball.

Heim was livid after that sequence, but his emotions quickly changed after Travis Jankowski homered to lead off the ninth inning.

“What happened can’t happen, and I take full responsibility for that,” Heim said. “Thankfully, Travis picked me up there, had my back. A lot of great at-bats in the 10th gave me the opportunity, and I just tried to put something in play.”

Texas hopes to capitalize on that momentum when it sends left-hander Cody Bradford to the mound.

Bradford, 26, posted a 4-3 record with a 5.30 ERA in 20 appearances (eight starts) last season, his first in the majors. He has yet to face the Cubs in his career.

Bradford’s time in the starting rotation likely will be relatively short as right-hander Michael Lorenzen gets up to speed. Lorenzen, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract earlier this month, is nursing a neck injury.

Don’t talk about injuries to the Cubs, who saw ace Justin Steele clutch at his left hamstring during the season opener. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Friday and likely will head to the 15-day injured list, manager Craig Counsell said.

“This is a part of a baseball season. Injuries are going to happen and you’ve got to rebound from them, you’ve got to recover from them,” Counsell said. “The next guy is going to fill in and then everybody else has got to pick up around him.

“First day of the season, it probably stings a little worse, but this is going to be part of our season and test us immediately.”

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks, the final remaining player from Chicago’s 2016 World Series-winning team, will get the start on Saturday.

Hendricks, 34, overcame a capsule tear in his pitching shoulder to cobble together a 6-8 record with a 3.74 ERA in 24 starts last season. He allowed three hits over six scoreless innings to win his lone career encounter against Texas, in 2016.

Christopher Morel had a triple among his two hits on Thursday and scored on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly. Morel’s extra-base hit was one of four by Chicago.

–Field Level Media

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