Monday, April 1, 2013

Justin Maxwell, Rick Ankiel Power Houston over Texas in AL Debut

Players of the Day for Sunday, March 31, 2013

American League

Justin Maxwell
Switching from the NL Central to the AL West seems to agree with the Houston Astros... well, at least for one game.

Rick Ankiel
The Astros - who spent most of this century (and much of the last one) in the cellar of the NL Central, are now an AL team and they celebrated the fact by whipping the Texas Rangers, 8-2, opening the 2013 MLB regular season.

Center fielder Justin Maxwell tripled twice in three at-bats, driving in a pair of runs and scoring twice. Well-traveled Rick Ankiel delivered a three-run, sixth-inning, pinch-hit homer to fuel the Astros to their first win in the AL.

Ankiel's played with St. Louis (both as a pitcher and an outfielder), Washington and now with Houston. Maxwell was also with the Nationals, playing a total of 107 games for them in 2009 and 2010. He spent 2011 in the minors and played 124 games with Houston least season.

Starter Bud Norris (1-0) took the win. Matt Harrison, the Texas starter, was saddled with the loss, allowing six hits, three walks and five earned runs, despite striking out nine.

12 games are slated for Monday's "official" opening day.

National League

There were no National League games scheduled on Sunday.

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