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Phillies pick up Lee in opener
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) and starting pitcher Cliff Lee (33) conference during the fifth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jimmy Rollins had a grand slam during his memorable opening day for the Philadelphia Phillies, who needed a lot of runs to get usually reliable ace Cliff Lee a victory in his return to Texas.
Rollins hit his 200th career homer and pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr. had a tiebreaking two-run double that put the Phillies ahead for good in a wild 14-10 victory over the Rangers on Monday.
Rollins matched Cal Ripken's major league record by starting his 14th consecutive opener at shortstop for the same franchise. He also became the 19th player in major league history with at least 400 doubles, 100 triples and 200 homers.
"J-Roll, with the big pop early, just really set the tone and got things going," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "I think it was contagious after that."
The Phillies had 17 hits and their most runs in a season opener since 1900. It was more than enough to make up for a rough outing for Lee (1-0), who was unable to protect a 6-0 lead after Rollins homered in the second inning.
Rollins, whose wife is expecting their second child, flew to Texas on Sunday, a day after the rest of the team did.
"I didn't want to come here and then have to fly to Philadelphia," Rollins said. "The baby has let me go out and play ball for a few more days."
Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche also homered for the Phillies, who beat the Boston Beaneaters 19-17 in their 1900 opener.
Converted Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers gave up seven runs over four innings. But the game was tied when Scheppers threw his last pitch.
Mayberry, a first-round draft pick by the Rangers in 2005 who never played for the big league club and was traded three years later, got his tiebreaking hit in the fifth against Pedro Figueroa (0-1) for a 9-7 lead.
Lee matched his career high by allowing eight runs and struck out only one, but the left-hander made it through five innings in another less-than-stellar opener for him in the Rangers' home ballpark.
"I don't like being on the pitching side of that, but fortunately we outscored them and got the win, the main thing," said Lee, who had a solid spring. "Jimmy hitting that grand slam busted it open. And we kept adding it on and we needed it, as it turned out."
Lee got a nice ovation before pitching in Texas for the first time since starting for the Rangers in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series. The lefty also made a season-opening start here for Cleveland in 2009, when the then-reigning AL Cy Young Award winner allowed seven runs over five innings in a 9-1 loss.
With starters Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland on the disabled list, Scheppers became the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 to make his first career start on opening day. Scheppers, who had 76 relief appearances last season, struck out two and walked three.
"I was extremely disappointed. You bear down there. My pitches were around the zone," Scheppers said. "I was just trying to be too fine with everything, trying to hit corners. Unfortunately, I put the guys in a big hole."
Texas went ahead 7-6 on Alex Rios' three-run homer in the third, but Philly got even in the fourth on Chase Utley's RBI single, the first of his three hits.