Rangers beat Angels 7-3 in Griffin's 1st start since 2013
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) A.J. Griffin said he wasn't the least bit discouraged during his two injury-plagued seasons out of the big leagues. He made it back with a vengeance on Friday night, and that made all the hard work he put in well worth it.
Griffin completed his inspiring comeback with a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, getting home run support from Rougned Odor.
''I don't even know how to put that into words, but it was a grind. And to be able to get out here and have the opportunity again is just fantastic,'' Griffin said.
Griffin threw 88 pitches over six innings, allowing three runs with two walks and a strikeout. He was brought up from Triple-A earlier in the day.
''I took my time this past offseason and just got my body into the right shape for pitching,'' Griffin said. ''I'm not a supermodel or anything, but I'm in good pitching shape and I feel really good.''
The 28-year-old right-hander signed with Texas as a free agent in December after missing the previous two seasons with the Oakland A's following Tommy John surgery. Angel Stadium also was the site of his previous big league outing on Sept. 24, 2013.
''It's awesome. I've been working really hard to try to get back and compete at the highest level,'' said Griffin, who is 19-0 in 21 career starts in which he has received more than three runs of support.
Rangers leadoff man Delino DeShields tied a career high with three stolen bases and scored twice, once on a wild pitch by reliever Cam Bedrosian in the fourth to give the Rangers a 6-2 lead.
''That's what Delino does for us when he gets on base,'' manager Jeff Banister said. ''It was part of the formula last year that allowed us to get going and score runs. They paid a lot of attention to our baserunners tonight, especially Delino, and it really created some offense for us.''
Matt Shoemaker (0-1) was charged with six runs, seven hits and three walks in his season debut. The right-hander was 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his four previous career starts against the Rangers.
''I was really looking forward to this start, especially after not getting off on the right foot last year,'' Shoemaker said. ''But that's the positive thing - it's only one start. It's a long season, and hopefully I'll get 30 more and have a lot of good ones after this.''
The first five batters reached base in the Rangers' first, which included RBI singles by Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre and a run-scoring double by Mitch Moreland.
Odor, who homered four times against the Angels last season, made it 5-1 with a two-run shot in the fifth after a walk to Ian Desmond.
CHOO AND CHOI
A bonafied Kodak moment occurred in the Texas first, when Shin-Soo Choo bunted up the first base line for a hit and Shoemaker had no play. When Choo got to the bag, there was South Korean countryman Ji-Man Choi, making his first major league start.
Choi, the first Korean-born player in Angels history, made his big league debut Tuesday night as a defensive replacement in left field. Choi's hometown of Incheon and Shoo's birthplace of Busan are approximately 210 miles apart.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish, coming off elbow surgery, will throw a bullpen session Saturday in Arlington. ... RHP Luke Jackson, on the disabled list because of a stress fracture in his lower back, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment for Triple-A Round Rock this weekend.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver came out of Thursday's bullpen session in good shape and is slated to make his season debut in Sunday's series finale.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (1-0) is 8-0 with a 3.16 ERA over his last 11 starts, including a season-opening 3-2 win over Seattle in which he allowed two runs in seven innings. The 2008 World Series and NLCS MVP beat the Angels 9-2 with a complete-game three-hitter in his final regular season start of 2015.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (0-1) gave up three runs over five innings in his first career opening day start, a 9-0 loss to the Cubs. He is 8-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 14 career starts against the Rangers, including a loss to Hamels in the Angels' 2015 season finale.