White Sox-Rangers Preview
By DAN BURCH
(AP) -- Ian Kinsler and the Texas Rangers started the 2012 season just like they had hoped. And if Kinsler is disappointed about not getting a contract extension completed, he's sure not showing it on the field.
Following an opening-day victory, the Rangers host the Chicago White Sox on Saturday in the second of a three-game series.
Kinsler helped spoil the managerial debut for Chicago's Robin Ventura, as he had a leadoff double in the first inning, hit a solo home run in the third and scored twice in a 3-2 win Friday.
Kinsler was unable to come to terms with the Rangers on an extension before the season started, the self-imposed deadline for the second baseman, who hit a career-high 32 homers and stole 30 bases in 2011 for the two-time American League champions.
"You come in here and you play for your teammates, you don't play for yourself. This is a very selfless team," Kinsler said. "That's something outside the clubhouse. ... My main focus is to play hard for my teammates and do what I can to win a game."
Texas looked like a squad that could make a third straight trip to the World Series. Former AL MVP Josh Hamilton and Michael Young each had an RBI, Colby Lewis struck out nine to earn the win and new closer Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for the save.
"A well-played game," Young said. "The first inning was perfect."
Lewis became the second Rangers pitcher to strike out nine in an opening-day start – team president Nolan Ryan did it in 1991.
Ventura, hired to replace Ozzie Guillen in the offseason, met with Ryan for the first time since their infamous fight 19 years ago. While neither side expressed any hard feelings, Ventura might have hoped for more fight in his team at the plate.
The White Sox struck out 13 times and went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, leaving Ventura to wait another day for a chance at his first victory.
"I figured we'd lose a game at some point this year," he said.
One bright spot for Chicago was Adam Dunn's two-run homer that tied the game in the sixth inning and gave the slugger a record-tying eighth opening-day home run.
"It would've been a lot sweeter if we'd pulled it out today and we could talk about the win instead of that," said Dunn, who joined Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Robinson in the record books.
Jake Peavy will try to turn things around for Chicago when he takes the mound Saturday. The former Cy Young Award winner went 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA last season and has battled injuries for most of his tenure with Chicago.
He's made just 38 starts in two-plus seasons with the White Sox – he made 35 for San Diego during his 2007 award-winning campaign.
Derek Holland starts for the Rangers, looking to build on his breakout 2011 season, when he went 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA.
Neither starter has had any success against the team he's facing. Peavy is 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in three starts versus the Rangers, while Holland is 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA in four starts against Chicago.
Updated April 6, 2012