ARLINGTON, Texas – John Danks grew up going to games at Rangers Ballpark and imagined pitching there on opening day when Texas drafted him in the first round.
The left-hander with a new $65 million, five-year contract did get his first opening day start there, for the Chicago White Sox on Friday in Robin Venturas managerial debut, a 3-2 loss to the two-time defending American League champion Rangers.
This was a fun game, it really was, said Danks, who struck out six with no walks in six innings. All in all, it was disappointing to get beat, but I feel like Im where I need to be. Thats a good lineup over there. ... If I can be this good or better, it should be a good year.
The Rangers used a familiar and successful script to win their opener just more than five months after twice coming within one strike of a World Series championship before losing in seven games to St. Louis.
Ian Kinsler had a leadoff double in the first for Texas before a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus moved him to third and a sac fly by Josh Hamilton brought him home. Then Kinslers homer in the third made it 2-0.
After Chicago tied the game by scoring twice in the sixth, including Adam Dunns record-tying eighth opening day homer, Hamilton led off the bottom of the frame with a single and scored on a single by Michael Young.
Before the game, Ventura had his first meeting with Nolan Ryan since charging the mound 19 seasons earlier against the Hall of Fame pitcher. Ryan is now president, CEO and part-owner of the Rangers.
We just talked. I congratulated him on the last couple of years. Hes done a great job, Ventura said.
As for his first game as a manager, Ventura said, I figured wed lose a game at some point this year.
Colby Lewis (1-0), like Danks a former first-round pick by the Rangers, struck out nine in his first opening day start. Three relievers then worked scoreless innings, with new closer Joe Nathan pitching a perfect ninth.
A well-played game, said Young, the longest-tenured Ranger in his 12th season.