(Arlington) Stephen Matz scored nine hits in his debut for the Toronto Blue Jays, who beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 on Monday in front of the largest crowd in the MLS during a pandemic.
The Blue Jays started the season 3-1 for the first time since 2015. The Torontonians took a 4-0 lead in the second half after successive Marcus Simin and Kavan Biggio at the expense of Mike Volteniewicz (0-1).
The Rangers advertise a busy home with 38,283 spectators for 50 spectatorse The opening game in Texas, and the second in their new stadium. They played 30 games at the Globe Life Field in front of empty stands last season.
Major Baseball allocated 28% of the stadium capacity during the National and World Series Championships in October. The largest crowd stood at 11,472.
It looked like a real game. Rangers manager Chris Woodward said, “It was like the good days when we were crowded with houses. I was hoping to see how high the playing field could be by giving them something to celebrate. Unfortunately, we didn’t.”
Matz (1-0) allowed only one round, two strokes and one walk in six turns and a third on the hill. Last year with the New York Mets, he hadn’t made such a long start and he was 0-5. Left Hand traded to Blue Jays in January.
“It was very fun.” About the fans in the stands, Matz said, “There was more adrenaline during the warm-up period and before the match started. It was really nice to see the spectators in the stands.”
“This is how Stephen pitched during Spring Camp. Charlie Montoyo, the manager of the Blue Jays, explained that he was in control and that’s what we needed. It was great as a first start with us.”
The Rangers scored their only game against Matz in the fourth inning, after one of the first base players Nate Lowe. Lowe set a team record for most RBIs in the first four matches of the season (10).
A hit by Louis Isiah Kenner-Valieva is sent to the home plate. Kiner-Falefa is the first short player not named Elvis Andrus to start the Rangers’ opening match since 2008. Andrus traded to Oakland Athletics in February.
Foltynewicz hit seven hitters and walked three in four rounds up the hill. He faced six full counts in the first eight opponents he faced.
Susanna Freer said her family decided to take a “calculated risk” by attending the opening ceremony of the Rangers’ home.
It was the first game in a North American professional sports league to be played in front of a full house, just over a year after the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.
All 40,518 tickets available at the Globe Life Field were for sale, and the retractable roof stadium was three-quarters full on the game’s first stadium.
“We thought about it because we knew it was going to be a full house,” said Freer, a child in her arms and another sitting next to her on a table behind the balcony stands in the left field.
“But since masks are mandatory, we follow the instructions, and we know that the stadium workers are doing their part to keep the facilities as clean and disinfected as possible, so we thought that was enough for us to attend,” she said.
Rangers made headlines in the US when they announced last month that they would be putting all of their home opening tickets for sale, although US President Joe Biden said it was through a “mistake” and a “irresponsible” decision.
The club’s decision came shortly after Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask requirement and allowed all companies to return to normal operations. However, the Rangers indicated that the mask was mandatory on the field. Most of the spectators obeyed this directive in the aisles, but not in their seats.