Hamels, Verlander duel on opening day for Astros, Rangers

Nomar Mazara right fielder for the Texas Rangers

Nomar Mazara right fielder for the Texas Rangers

Justin Verlander scattered four hits in six shutout innings, and George Springer and Jake Marisnick hit solo home runs as the Houston Astros opened the defense of their World Series championship with a 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday in Arlington, Texas. The Astros then took down Boston and the New York Yankees to win the AL Pennant before defeating the Dodgers in 7 games for the first World Series title in franchise history.

Thanks to Springer, the Astros led the start.

Verlander, Hamels start Astros-Rangers openerAP Photo NY169, NY168Eds: With AP Photos.

Verlander (1-0) struck out five, walked two and allowed only four singles.

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Overall, it marks the 18th season that the Astros and Rangers have played in the regular season with the victor of the year's series receiving the coveted Silver Boot.

After working out of trouble in the 10th, Rodney's debut with the Twins came to an abrupt end when Jones went deep to left. Astros Opening Day pitcher Justin Verlander will face a Rangers lineup that looks nearly identical to last year's - a lineup that was top-10 in runs scored and No. 3 in home runs. A game ticket is required to enter the festival, which also allows access to the center-field area of the stadium, including Saint Arnold Bar, from 1 - 5:30 p.m. The Rangers are 0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS. Two, with the long ball, Springer became the first player in Major League Baseball history to open consecutive years with leadoff home runs. It's always fun with the Rangers, especially for us pitchers, their lineup has been one of the most potent in baseball the last five, seven years so to start with them, we get a hard task. Rizzo went deep in the second inning in his homecoming to his native South Florida, and Schwarber's homer atoned for an error he made during Miami's three-run third inning.

METS 9, CARDINALS 4: Yoenis Cespedes drove in three runs and newcomer Adrian Gonzalez hit a go-ahead double to lead Noah Syndergaard and NY at home. He is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his past five starts against Houston. Plus, the Astros will be feeling like they have to prove that last season wasn't a fluke and while Texas will be out for blood against a division rival, I think that Houston draws first blood with a win on Opening Day in this one.