By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Baseball Writer
Robbie Grossman and Brad Miller homered in a big comeback for Texas after prized acquisition Jacob deGrom struggled in his debut, and the Rangers beat the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies 11-7 in the season opener Thursday.
Grossman, a free-agent addition who earned the starting left field job in spring training, hit a three-run homer that tied the game at 5-5 in the middle of a nine-run outburst in the fourth inning. An inning later, Miller became the first Rangers player in 11 years to homer in consecutive season openers. His two-run shot made it 11-6.
While deGrom struck out seven without a walk, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner allowed five runs on six extra-base hits in his 3 2/3 innings. He threw 49 of 73 pitches for strikes. DeGrom signed a $185 million, five-year contract in free agency and made his fourth career start on opening day — he threw 17 scoreless innings in his three openers for the New York Mets, his team for the past nine seasons.
Aaron Nola, the 29-year-old right-hander making his sixth and maybe final opening-day start for the Phillies, also allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings. Nola is in the final year of his contract and discussions about an extension ended just before the start of the season.
The game also marked the Rangers debut of Bruce Bochy, the three-time World Series champion who was back in the dugout after a three-year retirement for his 26th opener as a manager. He had previously managed 13 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, who clinched their 2010 title in Texas, and 12 seasons with the San Diego Padres.
The Phillies, who last season made it to their first World Series since 2009, took a 5-0 lead when No. 9 hitter Brandon Marsh, the first batter after deGrom departed, had an RBI single off Cole Ragans (1-0).
Ragans, the second of five Rangers pitchers, got his first big league victory even while also giving up a walk while facing only three batters.
Alec Bohm hit a two-run homer in the second inning on a 99 mph fastball from deGrom. Marsh and Trea Turner, in his first game with the Phillies after signing a a $300 million, 11-year deal in free agency, had back-to-back triples in the third before J.T. Realmuto had an RBI double.
Grossman’s homer came immediately after an two-run double by Jonah Heim. The Rangers went ahead 6-5 when, with the bases loaded, Nathaniel Lowe hit a dribbler in front of the plate that turned into an RBI single off reliever Gregory Soto (0-1).
OPEN AND CLOSE
The retractable roof was opened to start the game, but was closed during the fourth inning because of potential thunderstorms in the area. It was the first time at Globe Life Field, which is in its fourth season as the Rangers’ home, that the roof was closed during a game. It was overcast and 69 degrees at first pitch.
The second game of the series Saturday is a matchup of 2021 All-Star pitchers. RHP Nathan Eovaldi makes his Rangers debut after signing as a free agent. RHP Zach Wheeler is 30-19 with a 2.82 ERA in his 69 starts the last three seasons since joining the Phillies.