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Rays knock around Saunders to snag series opener
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Sean Rodriguez and newcomer Ryan Hanigan each belted three-run homers as the Tampa Bay Rays routed the Texas Rangers, 8-1, in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
The blasts backed a solid outing by Jake Odorizzi (1-0). The right-hander scattered three hits, walked three and struck out four over six scoreless innings to pick up his first major-league win.
"It's kind of a surreal type of moment," Odorizzi said of his first win. "It feels like it took a while but I'm glad I got it out of the way. It was a team win, which made it that much better."
Joe Saunders' Rangers debut was far from glittering. The veteran lefty allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and walked three in 3 2/3 innings. Saunders (0-1) left after being struck on the left ankle by an Evan Longoria comebacker. The X-rays showed no fracture and the team is calling it a bruise.
Rodriguez, activated from the paternity list on Friday, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first inning, giving the Rays the lead. He drove a Saunders offering to left field to make it 4-0 in the third.
"That was a decent pitch," Saunders said of the pitch that Rodriguez launched over the wall. "He just put a good swing on it. Wrong pitch, wrong time. You live, you learn, you tip your cap and try to move on."
Wil Myers, who missed Tampa Bay's game on Thursday with flu-like symptoms, hit an RBI single in the next inning before Hanigan homered to left off Daniel McCutchen in the fifth.
Prince Fielder drove in the Rangers' lone run with an eighth-inning single.
Tampa Bay beat Texas in game No. 163 to claim the second AL wild-card spot Sept. 30 last season ... The Rays and Rangers are the only teams who have won 90-plus games in each of the past four years.
04/05 01:17:47 ET