Welcome to the American League.
The Houston Astros may lose 100 games this season, but they weren’t going to lose on Opening Night. Houston got a solid pitching performance from Bud Norris and power from Justin Maxwell and Rick Ankiel in a 8-2 victory over the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park Sunday.
It was the first victory in first-time Houston manager Bo Porter’s career and the 4,000th victory in team history.
“It was outstanding,” Porter said. “It’s a great feat for the organization. But, I’m more excited for the fans in Houston to witness the hard work the 25 men in that locker room have put in this spring. I’m happy for those guys in the clubhouse because they worked extremely hard for this night and it was good to see that hard work pay off.”
Before a sellout crowd of 41,307, the Astros made the most of their move to the American League this season. Bud Norris got the Opening Day nod and lived up to the expectations at the head of this Houston pitching staff.
The right-hander struck out five in 5 2/ 3 innings of work while giving up five hits, two runs and three walks. Norris held the Rangers scoreless through five before faltering in the sixth, when singles by David Murphy and Nelson Cruz made it 4-2 Astros.
“It was exciting,” Norris said. “We’ve made a lot of changes to the organization and to be here through thick and thin has been great. To get that first win for Skip and for these guys here while moving to the American League is a great feeling. We’re excited to keep going. To be sitting at 1-0 right now feels pretty darn good. We’ll go back out on Tuesday and play some more baseball.”
Center fielder Justin Maxwell, in his second year with the club, drove in Houston’s first runs as an American League club. In the bottom of the fourth, Maxwell hit a 1-0 pitch to left field. The ball banged off the top of the scoreboard in left and ricocheted straight up, allowing Maxwell to leg out a triple and score both first baseman Brett Wallace and Pena.