Bard implodes in 8th, Sox drop opener to Texas Rangers

The Boston Red Sox, playing their Opening Day game with a heavy heart after learning of the death of long-time Sox executive Lou Gorman, allowed the Texas Rangers to score four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, losing to the Rangers, 9-5.

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Setup man Daniel Bard entered the game in the bottom of the eighth for the Sox, after, designated hitter David Ortiz homered off Texas pitcher Darren Oliver to tie the game at 5-5.

However, after Bard got Nelson Cruz to fly out to right field, Bard walked Mike Napoli and allowed a single to catcher Yorvit Torrealba.

David Murphy, pinch hitting for Julio Borbon and a big fan favorite in Texas, then laced a double down the left field line, scoring both Napoli and Torrealba.

The Rangers weren’t done quite yet. After Ian Kinsler struck out, Elvis Andrus followed with a double to right-center, scoring Murphy, and Josh Hamilton, last year’s American League MVP who had struggled at the plate up to that point, also doubled, scoring Andrus and ending Bard’s disastrous outing.

The Sox started the game with two unearned runs off C.J. Wilson courtesy of a Julio Borbon error, when he inexplicably bumped into right fielder Nelson Cruz on a routine fly to right, causing Cruz to drop the ball. The Sox capitalized when Kevin Youkilis doubled off the right field wall, scoring Ellsbury, and Adrian Gonzalez followed with his first hit as a member of the Sox, singling to right field to score Youkilis. Gonzalez was thrown out on the play when he tried to stretch his single into a double.

It was not quite the start that John Lester was looking for when he took the mound for his first Opening Day start. Kinsler, the Rangers’ leadoff hitter, led off with a line drive home run into the left field seats against the wind, getting the Rangers back within one. They would tie it in the bottom of the second when Cruz launched another home run off Lester.

After Gonzalez provided a two-run single in the top of the third to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead, Mike Napoli gave the Rangers the lead with his three-run bomb in the bottom of the fourth.

Bard’s implosion in the eighth proved to be too much for the Sox, who snapped their six-game Opening Day streak, the last Opening Day loss occurring in 2004 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

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