In the 2013 season opener, Chris Sale pitched 7 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and Tyler Flowers provided the pop with a solo home run that ended up being the only tally in a 1-0 White Sox win over the Kansas City Royals. The 2014 season opener brought the same type of story. Chris Sale mowed down the opposition as usual, only this time, the offense was brought twice as much.
The 115th season for the Chicago White Sox started with a bang (actually, two) on Monday afternoon with a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 37,422 fans at U.S. Cellular Field. Alejandro De Aza hit two home runs (one in the second inning and another in the sixth) to jolt the Sox to a season-opening win. Chris Sale went 7 2/3 innings again in the opener, gave up three runs on five hits, walked only one and struck out eight. Matt Lindstrom, who was announce Monday as the Sox closer (for now), picked up his first save since April 2011.
Along with De Aza’s big day, Sox fans were treated to a solid performance at the plate by Cuban acquisition, Jose Abreu. In his first at-bat of the season, on the first pitch he saw, Abreu ripped a liner into right field for a double in the second inning. Abreu would rack up his first Major League RBI in the bottom of the third inning when he singled home Adam Eaton.
One of the better moments of the day was the introduction of Paul Konerko. Konerko, who began his career with the Sox in 1999, began the 2014 campaign on the bench as Abreu started at first base and Adam Dunn (0-for-2 today with a walk). The moment was captured from the White Sox Twitter account.
Monday afternoon brought a beautiful day for baseball on the South Side of Chicago. The young Sox showed some progress and gave fans a tiny sample of what could come from this club this season. As special as Opening Day is, it’s just one game of 162. When you play in a division with a team who went to last season’s American League Championship Series along with two Cy Young winners on their pitching staff, you need more days like Monday.