Fans fill the stands at Globe Life Field during the second inning of a game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday in Arlington, Texas. Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Steven Matz sensed the buzz from fans when warming up before his Toronto debut, then helped the Blue Jays ruin the home opener for the Texas Rangers before the largest MLB crowd since the pandemic.

Rangers fans didn’t have much to cheer about, other than just finally getting to see their team play a regular-season game in the retractable-roof stadium that opened last year.

Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio hit back-to-back homers early for the Blue Jays and Matz struck out nine while allowing only one run over 6 1/3 innings in a 6-2 win Monday.

“It was definitely cool, that extra little adrenaline warming up and getting into the game,” Matz said. “It was fun. It felt really good to have fans in the stands.”

The Rangers announced a sellout crowd of 38,283 for their 50th home opener in Texas, the second in $1.2 billion Globe Life Field that has a listed capacity of 40,518 — the announced attendance doesn’t include complimentary tickets. They played all 30 home games in the stadium’s debut season without fans last summer.

ROYALS 3, INDIANS 0: Danny Duffy pitched six innings of two-hit ball to beat a longtime nemesis and Whit Merrifield drove in all of Kansas City’s runs with a homer and sacrifice fly, leading the Royals to a win in Cleveland.


The Indians played their home opener in front of fans for the first time since 2019. The announced attendance of 8,914 — 30% of ballpark capacity was permitted — was a nice change from last season, when fans couldn’t attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health and safety protocols.

Duffy (1-0) came in with 12 career losses against the Indians — his most against any team. But the left-hander was in control from the outset and beat them for the fifth time.

TWINS 15, TIGERS 6: Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam after a near miss and added a solo homer and a double, Matt Shoemaker held Detroit hitless into the fifth inning and Minnesota rolled to a win in Detroit.

Akil Baddoo hit a grand slam for the Tigers. He made his big league debut Sunday and homered on the first pitch thrown to him.

Cruz came up with the bases loaded in the second and the Twins already up 2-0. He sent a drive down the line in right field that went foul — but was close enough for a replay review. That call was upheld, but then Cruz hit the very next pitch over the fence in left.


REDS 5, PIRATES 3: Nick Castellanos hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning hours after deciding to appeal a two-game suspension for his part in a brawl, and Cincinnati won at home.

CARDINALS 4, MARLINS 1: Yadier Molina hit a bases-loaded double during a three-run first inning, Daniel Ponce de Leon and the St. Louis bullpen protected the lead, and the Cardinals won in Miami. Molina drove in two runs with his 382nd double.

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