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Rangers draw near-capacity crowd, see dearth of masks, as they lose home opener

Texas lost for third time this season, as starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz was chased after four innings.

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers lost their home opener on Monday afternoon, falling behind the Toronto Blue Jays early, and never mounting a comeback in a 6-2 defeat.

Rangers starter Mike Foltynewicz needed 35 pitches to get out of the first inning, and gave up four runs in his four innings of work, ultimately throwing 95 pitches. Kyle Cody went 2.1 innings, and gave up the other two runs, on a pair of Blue Jays hits.

The Blue Jays homered in back-to-back at-bats in the second inning, as Marcus Semien hit a two-run shot to left field to give Toronto a 3-0 advantage. Two pitches later, Cavan Biggio hit a fly ball to right field that found the seats, and it was 4-0 Jays.

The Rangers first run of the game came in the fourth inning, as Nate Lowe recorded his 10th run batted in this season, improving to 6-9 with runners in scoring position over this first week of the 2021 season. But his was the only offense Texas could muster until the ninth, when they added an inconsequential run on Brock Holt’s RBI double, in falling to 1-3 on the year.

The Rangers hit four Blue Jays batters in the game. Toronto hit two Rangers in the game. This is a very different era of Rangers-Blue Jays baseball, so no punches were thrown. 

This is biggest impact the lack of Rougned Odor will make all season.

National anthems

The American anthem was performed Monday by live saxophonist Paul Rogers. Michael Borts sang O Canada.

First pitch

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Rangers home opener alongside several frontline heroes, including healthcare workers, teachers, and military. Abbott elected not to show up, due to a dispute with Major League Baseball deciding to remove the All-Star Game from the state of Georgia due to SB 202.

RELATED: Hours before Rangers home opener, Gov. Abbott says he won't throw out first pitch, Texas won't try to host any MLB events

The frontline heroes did throw out the first pitch, despite Abbott’s absence.

Masks

As was the expectation, the Rangers mask mandate didn’t have teeth. 

While some fans did wear masks, but there were also plenty of examples of fans choosing to go maskless, with some who didn’t appear to even have one visible. 

The Rangers said 38,283 people packed into Globe Life Field – that’s 94.9% of the capacity seating of 40,300. Social distancing was ‘encouraged’ on the concourses, but was obviously not feasible in the stands. 

RELATED: Rangers' manager encourages fans to 'be responsible' and wear their masks

The Rangers had said they would enforce the mask mandate. Plainly put, it was not enforced. The evidence on the television broadcast, in pictures from around the ballpark, and otherwise, certainly indicates that it wasn’t heavily enforced, if it was at all.

RELATED: Rangers 2021 Season Outlook: Don’t expect much