Sox get off on wrong foot with loss to Rangers, 9-5


Sox get off on wrong foot with loss to Rangers, 9-5

By Sean McAdam

LEADOFF SPOT: Jon Lester had never before given up three homers in a single start. Daniel Bard hadn't allowed four runs in an outing since his rookie year.

So when both things happened Friday, you got the sense it wasn't going to be the Red Sox' day. And it wasn't as they dropped their regular season opener, 9-5 to the Texas Rangers in a slugfest.

Lester twice coughed up two-run leads, with the big blow against him a three-run homer by Mike Napoli in the fourth.

After David Ortiz tied the game with a solo homer in the top of the eighth, the Rangers responded right away with four runs in the bottom of the inning off Bard, including a pinch-hit two-run double by former Sox outfielder David Murphy. Murphy's opposite-field slice kicked up chalk on the left field line and gave the Rangers a lead they wouldn't lose.

Adrian Gonzalez, in his Red Sox debut, collected three RBI. Carl Crawford wasn't nearly a successful, going hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: David Murphy. The former Red Sox outfielder came off the bench to deliver a tie-breaking two-run pinch-hit double in the bottom of the eighth and put the Rangers ahead for good.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Napoli, a noted Red Sox killer while with the Angels, didn't do anything differently with his new team, belting a three-run homer off Jon Lester and adding a walk in the eighth to help set up Murphy's heroics.

THE GOAT: Daniel Bard. Bard was hit around for four runs in the eighth and was saddled with the loss. In 73 appearances last season, Bard gave up more than a run twice. The four runs off him tied a career high.

TURNING POINT: On a 3-and-2 pitch to Napoli, Bard threw a slider which missed, walking Napoli and setting the four-run inning in motion.

BY THE NUMBERS: David Ortiz had a game-tying homer off lefthander Darren Oliver. All of last season, Ortiz hit just two homers off lefties.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We battled all day to stay in that game. It sucks to be the one that gives it away.'' -- Daniel Bard.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17


Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

ARLINGTON, Texas - Maybe the Cowboys will be OK without quarterback Tony Romo this time. The future of the Dallas running game with Ezekiel Elliott looks pretty good, too.

Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott's first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia's Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.

"Dak's handled every opportunity he's had right from the start really, really well," coach Jason Garrett said. "No different tonight."

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards - a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter - and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

"We haven't played a complete game," Fox said. "This week was the reverse of what we've had. We played very poorly in the first half."

Elliott finished with 140 yards on 30 carries, including a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.

"Made a lot of good runs tonight, a lot tough runs, a lot of NFL runs," Garrett said. "He's physically tough. He's mentally tough."

It didn't even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas' first home win since last year's opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.

Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn't do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.