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Washington on Opening Day win

ARLINGTON -- Outfielder David Murphy said the atmosphere was "awesome" and closer Joe Nathan, in his first official game with the Rangers, understood what he meant.

"From the start to the finish, I don't think I've had butterflies that long," Nathan said. "I had butterflies from the pregame ceremonies to the last out."

That's the kind of atmosphere Rangers starter Colby Lewis thrives in, and did so again on Opening Day, pitching his team to a 3-2 victory over the White Sox before a sellout crowd of 49,085 at Rangers Ballpark.

Ian Kinsler, who has been known to steal the show on Opening Day, delivered the Rangers' first two runs with a leadoff double in the first and a home run in a third. Michael Young then broke a 2-2 tie with an RBI single in the sixth and three scoreless innings from the bullpen allowed the Rangers to win their fourth straight Opening Day.

"It was a good clean game," Young said. "We were really happy to get that kind of performance from Colby. He did a great job, a lot of strikeouts and a lot of big pitches with men on base. It was nice to get the lead back for him like that the way we did."

"Colby is fearless," Murphy added. "He's not afraid to challenge guys, pound the strike zone and help his defense. He keeps the ball down and works quickly. You love playing behind a guy like that."

Lewis, whose reputation as a big-game pitcher comes from a 4-1 record and a 2.34 ERA in eight postseason starts, earned the win by holding the White Sox to two runs in six innings. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out nine. Three strikeouts by Alexi Ogando and one by Nathan in the ninth gave the Rangers 13 on the afternoon, a new club record for Opening Day.

"No matter if there are 5,000 in the seats or 50,000, you still have to go out and do your job," Lewis said. "It was exciting, what I thought it would be: goosebumps and jitters. But after you make that first pitch, it's business as usual. I just look at it as you have to get outs."

Lewis did so with a fastball that was clocked at 87-90 mph. But he threw the fastball exactly where he wanted to, and supplemented it with a good changeup and a wicked slider that had White Sox hitters chasing outside the strike zone. It was typical Lewis when he is at his best.

"His ball moves a ton and he didn't give us a lot to hit," White Sox outfielder Adam Dunn said. "His slider was very, very good. He was mixing up his pitches. It goes to show you don't have to throw the hardest to be effective and he's a really good pitcher."

Lewis outpitched lefty John Danks, the former No. 1 Rangers Draft pick who was a teammate with Kinsler at a couple of levels early in their Minor League careers. Kinsler was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run off Danks on Friday and is 11-for-28 with four home runs against him in his career.

"If I knew, trust me, I would throw it," Danks said about getting Kinsler out. "He's a good hitter. Me and him coming up together I know a lot about him and he knows a lot about me. Tip your cap and be a little more careful with him but that's tough to do when you're followed up by [Elvis] Andrus, [Josh] Hamilton and the rest of them." Kinsler's home run in the third was his third in six Opening Day games and he is 9-for-25 including three doubles overall in the Rangers' first game of the season.

"I like playing in front of a packed house," Kinsler said. "It's exciting and today was a lot of fun. It was a good game by the whole team, a well-played game."

Lewis took a two-run lead into the bottom of the sixth before Dunn led off the inning by hitting a full-count pitch into the second deck of the Home Run Porch. The White Sox were then able to tie it up with two outs in the inning after Lewis hit Alex Rios with a pitch. Alexei Ramirez followed with a soft single to left-center and Rios, who was running on an 0-2 pitch, came all the way around to score.

Ramirez went to second on the play and manager Ron Washington had Ogando ready in the bullpen. But Washington stayed with his starter against rookie outfielder Dayan Viciedo, and Lewis struck him out to end the inning. The White Sox were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position off Lewis and 0-for-7 on the game.

"He deserved to finish that inning off," Washington said. "That was his last hitter and he got him. Colby was outstanding. He did exactly what we needed him to do." Comments