Kansas City at Chicago

Scoreboard
Kansas City (0-1)000000000070
Chi. White Sox (1-0) «00001000x180

Sale outduels Shields as White Sox blank Royals

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

CHICAGO -- For all the deep breaths he took before the game, Chris Sale sure was a picture of calm once he stepped on the mound. More important for the White Sox, he was the definition of dominant.

Sale outpitched James Shields, Tyler Flowers homered and the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 1-0 in the season opener on Monday.

More on Royals-White Sox
Related links
More MLB coverage

The White Sox believe they're in position to make a run at the AL Central title even though they made no splashy additions while the rest of the division loaded up. They're off to a good start after a late fade left them three games behind Detroit a year ago.

A dominant performance by Sale and Flowers' drive leading off the fifth against Shields were just enough to beat a team that's trying to make a big jump after finishing with a losing record 17 of the past 18 seasons. It also gave the White Sox a rare win over the Royals, who took 12 of 18 from them a year ago.

Sale was a first-round draft pick in 2010 out of Florida Gulf Coast University, whose basketball team was the darlings of this year's NCAA men's tournament. He said the toughest part of Monday's game was the wait beforehand. But he watched other games and took deep breaths, trying to clear his mind.

"I tried not to hurt myself with my own thoughts," he said.

Sale (1-0) showed the form that made him a 17-game winner and an All-Star in his first season as a starter. On a chilly day when the game-time temperature was 44, he allowed just seven hits and struck out seven while walking one.

Sale got an assist in the seventh when second baseman Gordon Beckham dived to his right to snag Lorenzo Cain's line drive with a runner on first, and he left to a standing ovation after Alcides Escobar's single with two outs in the eighth.

Nate Jones came in and, after Escobar stole second, threw a wild pitch while walking Billy Butler to put runners on first and third. Matt Thornton then struck out Mike Moustakas on three pitches to end the threat, and Addison Reed worked the ninth for the save.

Sale, meanwhile, backed up the White Sox's decision to reward him with a new five-year deal this spring and the opening day start.

"I think a lot of stuff's been thrown at him in spring training," manager Robin Ventura said. "He gets the contract, he gets the opening day. There's a lot of expectations of him, but that all comes with it."

He said Sale has "come along great."

And Butler was impressed: "He's been pitching pretty well the last year and had another really good game out there.

Shields (0-1) was a tough-luck loser even though he gave the Royals exactly what they envisioned when they acquired him from Tampa Bay. The former All-Star lasted six innings, allowing just one run and eight hits while striking out six without a walk.

Along with the addition of Ervin Santana from the Los Angeles Angels and the re-signing of Jeremy Guthrie after he dazzled in a short stint with Kansas City last season, the Royals believe they have the arms to challenge reigning division champion Detroit and make the playoffs for the first time since the 1985 championship season.

"That's exactly what I expect," manager Ned Yost said. "We get further into the year and he'd go back out. That's how good he was throwing the ball. Early, I limit them to 100 pitches. Guys like James and Santana and Guthrie take your 100 pitches and go to work."

Chicago finally broke through when Flowers drove a high 2-2 changeup out to left-center leading off the fifth. It was his first homer since he went deep against Kansas City last Sept. 8, and it was a promising sight for the organization. After all, one reason the White Sox let A.J. Pierzynski sign with Texas was they believed Flowers was ready to become the everyday catcher.

"If every day could be like today, it'll be fine," Flowers said. "I really don't think about it much. Hopefully, in a couple weeks or a couple months, I'll quit getting asked all these questions about A.J. and what size shoe I wear."

Notes

  • White Sox LHP John Danks said he hasn't experienced any setbacks in his recovery from shoulder surgery. "I'm still working up from surgery," he said. "I'm not even seven months (removed from it). We put a put a pretty generous, quick timetable on it. I was disappointed. I truly thought I was going to be ready. We just ran out of time." Danks started last year's opener, but made just nine starts -- all before mid-May -- and had surgery Aug. 6 to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in his rotator cuff and biceps. He plans to go back to Arizona for more workouts and will go on a rehab assignment before he returns. "As it sits right now, he feels good, which is a positive," general manager Rick Hahn said.
  • Santana makes his Royals debut Wednesday, with Jake Peavy starting for Chicago.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Chris Sale allows no runs and strikes out seven in 7 2/3 innings to earn the opening day win for the White Sox. (Getty Images)
Chris Sale allows no runs and strikes out seven in 7 2/3 innings to earn the opening day win for the White Sox. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

J. Shields
IP 6.0
H 8
ER 1
BB 0
K 6
Chicago

C. Sale
IP 7.2
H 7
ER 0
BB 1
K 7
 

Related Video

Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Gordon, LF3000100 .000
Alcides Escobar, SS4020000 .500
Billy Butler, DH3010113 .333
    Jarrod Dyson, PR-DH0000000 .000
Mike Moustakas, 3B4000026 .000
Salvador Perez, C4010021 .250
Eric Hosmer, 1B3010111 .333
Lorenzo Cain, CF4000022 .000
Jeff Francoeur, RF4020002 .500
Chris Getz, 2B3000011 .000
Totals3207039  
Batting
SB - Alcides Escobar (1, 2nd base off Jones/Flowers), Eric Hosmer (1, 2nd base off Reed/Flowers)
Team LOB - 8
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James Shields (L,0-1) 6811061 1.50
Aaron Crow 1000010 0.00
Kelvin Herrera 1000120 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 102-66, Aaron Crow 16-9, Kelvin Herrera 17-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 3-9, Aaron Crow 2-0
Batters Faced - James Shields 26, Aaron Crow 3, Kelvin Herrera 4
Chicago White Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alejandro De Aza, CF4000021 .000
Jeff Keppinger, 3B4010001 .250
Alex Rios, RF3020111 .667
Adam Dunn, DH4000025 .000
Paul Konerko, 1B4000001 .000
    Conor Gillaspie, 1B0000000 .000
Dayan Viciedo, LF4010011 .250
Alexei Ramirez, SS3020010 .667
Tyler Flowers, C3111013 .333
Gordon Beckham, 2B3010012 .333
Totals3218119  
Batting
HR - Tyler Flowers (1, Shields)
RBI - Tyler Flowers (1)
SB - Alex Rios (1, 2nd base off Herrera/Perez)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - A. Ramirez-Beckham-Konerko, Keppinger-Beckham-Konerko
Chicago White Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Sale (W,1-0) 7.2700170 0.00
Nate Jones0000100 0.00
Matt Thornton (H,1) 0.1000010 0.00
Addison Reed (S,1) 1000110 0.00
WP - Nate Jones (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Sale 104-72, Nate Jones 6-2, Matt Thornton 3-3, Addison Reed 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Sale 11-3, Addison Reed 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Sale 29, Nate Jones 1, Matt Thornton 1, Addison Reed 4
Game Information
Attendance - 39012
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 44
Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Al Porter