Atkins leaves with lead, Johnson can’t hold it

I’m not ready to name Mitch Atkins the opening day starter in 2012, but he held a potent Rangers lineup to one run over six innings in his first major league start.

I’d say he’s earned another opportunity.

Atkins scattered eight hits - which is what you do when you give up only one run - didn’t walk a batter and struck out four.

The fact that he didn’t issue a walk might be the most impressive aspect of his night.

Atkins retired the side in order only once in six innings. He didn’t dominate the Rangers, but he walked no one and didn’t fumble a 2-0 lead built on home runs by J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters.

Finally, a quality start.

Too bad Atkins can’t get the win.

Jim Johnson replaced him and surrendered three runs in the seventh. Johnson walked two batters and both of them scored. The go-ahead run scored on Nolan Reimold’s throwing error.

Atkins is a feel-good story tonight. Too bad the outcome didn’t match it.

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