Kansas City Royals pound rival White Sox in opener


Final. 1. 128. 10. 7

The Kansas City Royals won their first Opening Day game since 2008, pounding their division rivals, the Chicago White Sox, 10-1 in front of a sell-out crowd Monday.

Yordano Ventura (1-0), making the first Opening Day start of his career, was in complete command tossing six innings, allowing four hits and surrendering one run with two strike outs. Ventura left the game after throwing only 81 pitches and putting a scare into every Royals fan. Jeff Samardzija (0-1) took the loss for the Sox.

The Royals got on the board in the bottom of the second. New Royal Kendrys Morales drew a one-out walk. Samardzija hit Alex Gordon with a pitch, and Alex Rios hit into a force out, putting Morales on third and Rios on first. Salvador Perez followed with a slicing double to right, and Morales crossed the dish for the first time as a Royal, making it 1-0.

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In the bottom of the the third, Alcides Escobar led off with a double to right-center. Mike Moustakas sacrificed Escobar to third before Lorenzo Cain squirted a blooper down the right field line to score Escobar, making it 2-0. Cain stole second, and moved to third on a ground out by Eric Hosmer. With Morales batting, Samardzija, who was clearly battling control all day, uncorked a wild pitch that scored Cain for a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, Moustakas cranked a one-out, opposite field home run to left-center to make it 4-0.

Ventura was cruising along through six innings. Jose Abreu led off the seventh inning and deposited a Ventura fastball into the fountains to close the gap to 4-1. Ventura then threw a pitch to Adam LaRoche and went down near the mound in a heap, clutching his right hand.  All of Royals Nation can exhale. It was announced that Ventura left the game with a right thumb cramp.

Kelvin Herrera replaced Ventura and struck out LaRoche before getting a ground out and fly out to center to end the inning.

The Royals tacked on more. They started the bottom of the seventh by scoring a couple of gift runs. Escobar drew a lead-off walk, chasing Samardzija. Dan Jennings relieved, walked Moustakas, got Cain on a ground out that advanced the runners and followed by putting Morales on with an intentional walk to load the bases. Gordon then dribbled a grounder through the wickets, as the shortstop and second baseman got crossed up, making the score 6-1. The dribbler scored Escobar and Moustakas. Alex Rios punctuated the inning with a 3-run bomb to left field to stretch the lead to 9-1.

Hosmer got in on the parade with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to make it 10-1.

Wade Davis threw a perfect eighth inning, and Ryan Madson, in his Royals’ debut,  pitched around a single and walk in tossing a scoreless ninth.

NOTABLES: Alex Rios went 3-for-4 with a home run, three runs batted in and stole a base in his Royals’ debut. Kendrys Morales, not known for taking a free pass, walked twice and was intentionally walked. He also doubled in the eighth. Mike Moustakas, batting in the two-hole, put down a perfect sacrifice bunt, homered, walked and hit an infield single toward short that beat the shift.

NEXT: Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals, Wednesday, Apr. 8, 7:10 p.m. at Kauffman Stadium; LHP Jose Quintana (6-6, 3.76 in 2014) vs. LHP Danny Duffy (4-8, 5.64 in 2014).

Next: Kansas City Royals Questions for the 2015 Season