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Showalter wins debut as Rangers manager

3/31/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The ThunderStix and rally monkeys were
out in force and Game 7 winner John Lackey was on the mound.

The World Series champion Anaheim Angels and their crowd were
all set for a fun night. Too bad for them, the Texas Rangers had
other ideas.

"It was a great feeling to see the fans and get that feeling
again. I just wish we could have rewarded them with a little better
game on the field,'' Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said after Texas
won 6-3 Sunday in the major league opener.

The Angels began this season the same way they've started all
four under Scioscia -- with a thud.

"One more ceremony and I think we'll be ready to go,''
Anaheim's David Eckstein said. "We get our rings on Tuesday, and
we'd better be ready to play.''

Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Michael Young homered, making
manager Buck Showalter a winner in his debut with the Rangers.

"It was a special night in a lot of ways,'' said Showalter, who
was particularly moved by the pregame ceremonies honoring American
military personnel.

"It was a pretty emotional night for me and the team. It took
me about an inning or two to get the emotions out,'' he said.

The Rangers finished last in the AL West with a 72-90 record
last year, but Rodriguez said the team was inspired by what the
Angels accomplished.

"It kind of gives everyone a chip for optimism,'' said
Rodriguez, who admitted he's been frustrated by the Rangers' poor
records his two years with the club. "We have a great bunch of
guys. I think we're a lot more united here than we have been in the
last few years.

"I think our appetite is great for winning.''

Lackey was hit hard as the Angels stumbled out of the gate
again. Last year, they started with a 6-0 loss to Cleveland and
fell to a franchise-worst 6-14 before coming back to win a
club-record 99 games.

After rousing pregame ceremonies that included the raising of
the Angels' first World Series championship flag in their 42-year
history, Young quieted the crowd with a three-run shot over the
center-field wall off Lackey to give Texas a 4-2 lead in the fourth
inning.

"That was definitely the blueprint coming into the year, that
we could score early and lock it down with our bullpen and some
defense,'' Young said.

The Rangers rocked Lackey for five runs on eight hits in five
innings. In his last outing, the 24-year-old right-hander became
the first rookie to win the seventh game of a World Series in 93
years when he gave up one run in five innings of the Angels' 4-1
victory over San Francisco on Oct. 27.

Ismael Valdes made his first start in an opener and got the win
against his former teammates, allowing three runs on seven hits in
five innings.

Ugueth Urbina, signed as a free agent over the winter, pitched
the ninth for the save. He had 40 for Boston last year.

Texas relievers combined for one-hit ball over four innings.

The Angels' runs came on an RBI single by Brad Fullmer in the
first inning, another run-scoring single by Garret Anderson in the
third, and Darin Erstad's RBI groundout in the fifth.

Rodriguez, hampered by a herniated disk in his neck this spring,
made it 5-2 with a solo homer in the fifth. He began trotting
almost as soon as the ball left his bat, and the ball landed deep
in the left-field seats.

The homer was the 299th for the 27-year-old A-Rod, beginning his
eighth full big league season. He went 1-for-5 and is 5-for-34 in
season openers.

Gonzalez, coming back from an injury-plagued year, had a home
run, double and single.

Besides the sea of red-clad fans in the sellout crowd of 43,525,
there also was a strong red, white and blue theme. A huge "USA''
was mowed into the outfield grass, there was a moment of silence
for U.S. servicemen and a flyover by Navy fighter jets. The
national anthem was played by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
Band.

Tim Salmon, the Angels' senior member, helped raise the World
Series flag near the left-field seats. Jackie Autry, widow of
former team owner Gene Autry, also participated in the flag-raising
ceremony.

Game notes
Only nine players on Texas' opening day roster were on the
25-man roster last year. The Angels kept their same lineup and
starting rotation. ... Showalter is 6-2 in openers, going 4-0 in
1992-95 with the New York Yankees, and 1-2 with Arizona in
1998-2000. ... LHP Jarrod Washburn, who went 18-6 last year and
would have been the opening day starter against the Rangers,
instead pitched in a minor league game in Arizona on Sunday as he
worked his way back from a shoulder injury. He's scheduled to start
Saturday when the Angels are at Oakland.