Mar 29, 2024 - News

Rangers win opening day thriller over Cubs

A photo of Texas Rangers rookie Wyatt Langford

Rookie phenom Wyatt Langford fist bumps Travis Jankowski. Photo: Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Don't underestimate the Texas Rangers.

Why it matters: The Rangers enter the 2024 season as the reigning world champs, but most sports analysts don't even predict they'll win their division over the Houston Astros.

Yes, but: The 2023 champions are currently undefeated after a 4-3 walk-off win over the Chicago Cubs in Thursday's season opener.

  • The teams were evenly matched throughout, staying tied into the ninth inning, when the Cubs scored on what appeared to be a tipped foul but was ruled a passed ball.

Driving the news: Rookie Wyatt Langford — one of the Rangers' top prospects — had a standout night in his first major league game.

  • He hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, earning his first RBI. Then he got his first major league hit in the sixth inning.

What happened: The Rangers played in front of a sold out crowd, with fans standing several people deep just to catch a glimpse of the champs.

  • Fans booed when the Cubs took the lead in the top of the 9th after the controversial call, which gave catcher Jonah Heim an error. They screamed even louder when Travis Jankowski hit a homer in the bottom of the 9th.
  • And then, with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Heim — in a moment of poetic justice — hit a walk-off single.

Flashback: The Rangers led the division most of last season but slumped in August, ultimately losing the division to, well, the Astros.

  • Texas entered the playoffs as an underdog but continued to exceed expectations, landing in the World Series after beating, well, the Astros in the American League Championship Series.

The bottom line: Sports broadcasters may still look at the Rangers as an underdog, but the World Series winners start the season with a largely intact championship roster and some exciting rookies.

  • In the end, the packed stadium cheered as loudly as they did during Game 1.
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