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Thursday, January 3, 2013
March 31: Astros vs. Rangers

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

The Houston Astros' debut in the American League against the Texas Rangers will officially open the 2013 season on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" on March 31.

The 8 p.m. ET game, announced by Major League Baseball on Thursday, will be played at Minute Maid Park in Houston as the start of a three-game series. The teams will finish the set Tuesday and Wednesday of that week.

It's the first time the Rangers and Astros have played each other to start the season. The Astros' move now gives each league 15 teams, and the AL West will grow from four teams to five.

This is the third time the Rangers have played in the season-opening game on ESPN. They faced the Toronto Blue Jays in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 1, 2001, and the Angels in Anaheim, Calif., on March 30, 2003.

ESPN's coverage of opening week continues Monday, April 1, with four games, starting with the Boston Red Sox at the New York Yankees at 1 p.m. ET.

Opening night is the beginning of ESPN's 24th season televising Major League Baseball. The Rangers-Astros game also can be heard on ESPN Radio nationally and on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, the club's flagship station.