Fielder mashes home run in Rangers debut
Choo goes hitless in two at-bats in his first game; Darvish strikes out four
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish reeled off two scoreless innings and Prince Fielder smashed a home run as the Rangers dealt last year's Cactus League champions, the Royals, a 11-7 loss in the opener for both clubs on Thursday at Surprise Stadium.
Darvish, the Rangers' Opening Day starter, began the game by retiring the two new faces in the Royals' everyday lineup. Right fielder Norichika Aoki, also from Japan, struck out and second baseman Omar Infante flied out to left.
"I had a lot of life on my fastball and a lot of movement on my slider," Darvish said. "My curve ball was good too. For the first time facing game situations, it went well."
Darvish gave up two hits -- a broken-bat double to Eric Hosmer and a solid single to right by Salvador Perez. Darvish also posted four strikeouts and the last out came on a popup. Twenty-three of his 29 pitches were strikes.
"Darvish looked good," Hosmer said. "He was working on stuff. He was getting ahead of guys on his fastball and throwing a cutter after that. If he was ahead, working on his offspeed. But guys like him are always tough, they always look good. It's just a matter of being around the plate or not -- and he was today. It was definitely a good look for the first game of spring."
Shin-Soo Choo and Fielder, two major offseason additions for the Rangers, made their Texas debuts against left-hander Bruce Chen and went out easily. Choo struck out and Fielder rolled out to second.
But Fielder returned in the third inning to blast an 0-1 pitch from lefty Danny Duffy over the right-field wall, a solo home run. Choo went 0-for-2.
Perez knocked in the Royals' first run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Danny Valencia led off the sixth with a home run off lefty Ryan Feierabend.
The Rangers broke the game open with a five-run seventh against right-hander Cory Wade. Brad Snyder had a two-run double and Brent Lillibridge banged a two-run homer.
Justin Maxwell countered with a two-run blast off righty Justin Germano in the Royals' half of the seventh.
The Royals won last year's Cactus League with a 25-7 record, the best Spring Training mark in the Majors.
Up next: Alexi Ogando will make his first start for the Rangers. Ogando is the Rangers' No. 2 starter right now behind Yu Darvish and is expected to pitch two innings. He'll face the Royals in a rematch of Thursday's spring opener at 2:05 p.m. CT at Surprise Stadium. James Shields, the acknowledged Royals' staff leader, gets his first spring start after 13-9, 3.15-ERA first season for them. After the All-Star break last year, Shields was 9-3 for the most wins in the AL during that period. He's scheduled to be followed by Chris Dwyer, a left-hander who's in competition for the fifth rotation job. Also listed as probable pitchers are Jason Adam, Sugar Ray Marimon, Everett Teaford, Michael Mariot and Tim Collins. Expected to follow Ogando for the Rangers are Jose Contreras, Matt West, Cory Burris, ex-Royal Nate Adcock, Pedro Figueroa and Armando Rodriguez. The game can be heard on MLB.com and the Rangers Radio Network.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.