ARLINGTON, Texas — Prince Fielder shrugged and smiled after his bloop single was the only hit the Rangers needed to hand Felix Hernandez his first opening day loss.
"I've never won like this," the burly slugger said after a 3-2 victory over the Mariners on Monday. "Only way you can go is up."
Actually, it was a pretty good way for the defending AL West champs to start, with Cole Hamels overcoming a shaky first two innings and keeping Texas close before three walks by Hernandez and two errors by Seattle in a three-run fifth inning put the Rangers in front.
"However we can win a game, especially against Felix Hernandez, I'm good," said Adrian Beltre, whose potential double play grounder ended up scoring the go-ahead run when shortstop Ketel Marte misplayed it.
Seattle had a chance to join the Boston Beaneaters (1887-96) as the only major-league clubs to win 10 straight openers. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager homered early for the Mariners, but the midgame mistakes cost them in the debut of manager Scott Servais.
Hernandez fell to 6-1 in nine opening day starts. Hampered by a lack of run support throughout much of his career, the ace right-hander walked five.
"That's not me," Hernandez said. "I was missing a lot of pitches. All game."