Behind a solid effort from southpaw ace Chris Sale, the Chicago White Sox came away with a 5-3 win on Opening Day against the Minnesota Twins, setting the pace for what many hope will be a turnaround 2014 campaign.
Chicago (1-0) roughed up Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (0-1) in his regular season debut for Minnesota, touching him for five earned runs on ten hits in six innings of work.
With the White Sox already leading 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Alejandro De Aza drove his second home run of the afternoon into the bleachers, adding an insurance run that proved to be the club’s last on the afternoon.
In the bottom of the third, the Chicago offense tallied two runs against Nolasco via a Jose Dariel Abreu RBI single and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Adam Dunn.
Sale (1-0) tossed 108 pitches in his 7 1/3 innings of work Monday, in which he allowed three earned on just five scattered hits. He also notched eight strikeouts and allowed just one base-on-balls on the afternoon.
Minnesota (0-1) put forth an offense that was weak throughout much of the contest. Catcher Kurt Suzuki, in his first season with the Twins, drove in all three runs and accounted for two of his team’s seven hits.
De Aza opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, hitting a two-run home run to right field, giving Sale some early run support. Suzuki lined a two-run single to left in the next half-inning, tying the game 2-2.
Five White Sox players – Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia, Alexei Ramirez, De Aza and Abreu – tallied a pair of base hits for Chicago and Matt Lindstrom tossed a clean ninth to pick up his first save of the season.
Chicago and Minnesota will meet again on Wednesday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. CT at U.S. Cellular Field. Felipe Paulino (0-0,0.00 ERA) will start for the White Sox and he will be opposed by Kevin Correia (0-0, 0.00 ERA).