Astros strong in AL debut


HOUSTON — The Houston Astros and their spiffy new uniforms looked like a perfect fit in the American League.

Rick Ankiel and the Astros made an impressive debut in the AL, trouncing the Texas Rangers 8-2 Sunday night in the major league opener and giving Bo Porter a win in his first game as manager.

“To come out with a win is perfect,” Astros designated hitter Carlos Pena said.

Ankiel launched a pinch-hit three-run shot for the majors’ first homer this season, Bud Norris pitched well for the win, and Erik Bedard threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings for his first career save.

Having switched from the National League to the AL in the offseason, the Astros earned their first opening day victory since 2006 and the 4,000th regular-season win in franchise history. The Astros are coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons and have the lowest payroll in the majors, prompting many to predict they will be the worst team in the majors.