Minnesota at Chicago

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Minnesota (0-1)002000010370
Chicago (1-0) «02200100x5110

De Aza (two home runs), Sale lead White Sox past Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- As openers go, this one was promising for the Chicago White Sox.

Now, all they have to do is build on it.

Alejandro De Aza hit two home runs, and Jose Abreu had two hits in his major league debut to back Chris Sale and lead the White Sox to a 5-3 season-opening victory against the Minnesota Twins on Monday.

"It's a big deal because of what last year was," manager Robin Ventura said.

Last year was a 99-loss nightmare, a collapse after they finished second in the AL Central in 2012.

This year, they insist, will be better. They are off to a good start, even if they beat a team that is trying to stop a losing cycle.

Sale got the win, pitching five-hit ball into the eighth.

Paul Konerko got a loud ovation before what was likely his final opener, although he didn't play. The White Sox got clutch hits, hustled on the bases, and played error-free ball to start the season on a winning note.

Abreu doubled on the first pitch he saw leading off the second inning against Ricky Nolasco and scored on De Aza's two-run homer to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.

He also drove in the go-ahead run with a single during a two-run third after Minnesota's Kurt Suzuki tied it with a two-run single in the top half.

It was a good start for Abreu, who insisted he didn't feel any real first-game jitters. That line drive double to right, on a ball that Oswaldo Arcia appeared to misjudge, didn't hurt.

"You wanted to get that first one out of the way," Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68 million deal in the offseason, said through an interpreter. "Once you get it, it's a very happy moment. The first thing I thought of was my mother."

Abreu's family is expected to join him at some point this season. He wouldn't say where his mom is, other than "somewhere close, but we can't really comment on that."

De Aza made it 5-2 with a solo shot just over the right-field wall in the sixth inning for his first career multihomer game. It was also the first for Chicago on opening day since Jim Thome at Cleveland in 2008, and the first by a White Sox player in a season opener at home since 1960, when Minnie Minoso hit two against the Kansas City Athletics.

That was enough for Sale, who allowed three runs and struck out eight and walked one. The two-time All-Star came out with a 5-2 lead with one out and a runner on second in the eighth.

Ronald Belisario allowed a two-out RBI single to Suzuki before Donnie Veal retired Joe Mauer on a grounder.

Matt Lindstrom came on in the ninth after being announced as the closer by Ventura before the game. The right-hander gave up a one-out double to Chris Colabello before striking out Trevor Plouffe and retiring Arcia on a grounder to the mound for his first save since April 2011 when he was with Colorado.

Nolasco took the loss in a shaky debut with Minnesota. One of the top free agent pitchers last winter, he gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings.

"I thought we played good, we battled all game," Nolasco said. "Put up some runs, gave a good fight to Chris Sale and made it interesting late. Come back tomorrow or the next day and try and build off that."

The Twins are trying to pick themselves up after back-to-back 96-loss seasons and dropping a staggering 291 games the past three years.

There was a glitch before the game with the Twins' replay system as two blown fuses disabled a pair of monitors in the Minnesota clubhouse. That was fixed in time for the first pitch, but things didn't get much better for the Twins.

That is because the White Sox got the big hits from Abreu and De Aza to back Sale.

Notes

Konerko had started the previous 15 openers for the White Sox and 16 straight overall. He is in a reduced role after re-signing for one year. ... Minnesota LHP Brian Duensing was placed on the paternity list before Monday's game. RHP Michael Tonkin was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to replace Duensing, whose wife Lisa gave birth to a boy named Boston Matthew Duensing.. Twins general manager Terry Ryan didn't travel with the team to Chicago. Ryan was undergoing radiation to treat cancer.

 
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After hitting a career-high 17 home runs last season, Alejandro De Aza takes a big first step toward surpassing it in 2014.  (Getty Images)
After hitting a career-high 17 home runs last season, Alejandro De Aza takes a big first step toward surpassing it in 2014. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

K. Suzuki
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Chicago

A. De Aza
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
 

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Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brian Dozier, 2B4000023 .000
Kurt Suzuki, C4023000 .500
Joe Mauer, 1B4000002 .000
Josh Willingham, LF4000010 .000
Chris Colabello, DH4020020 .500
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4010022 .250
Oswaldo Arcia, RF3100112 .000
Aaron Hicks, CF3220010 .667
Pedro Florimon, SS1000000 .000
   a-Eduardo Escobar, PH-SS1000011 .000
Ricky Nolasco, P0000000 .000
   Anthony Swarzak, P0000000 .000
   Casey Fien, P0000000 .000
   Caleb Thielbar, P0000000 .000
Totals32373110  
a-struck out for Florimon in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chris Colabello (1, Lindstrom), Trevor Plouffe (1, Sale), Aaron Hicks (1, Sale)
SH - Pedro Florimon (1)
RBI - Kurt Suzuki 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Kurt Suzuki 3 (3)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Oswaldo Arcia 1
DP - Plouffe-Dozier-Mauer, Plouffe-Dozier-Mauer-Florimon-Dozier-Mauer
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ricky Nolasco (L,0-1) 61055242 7.50
Anthony Swarzak 1000020 0.00
Casey Fien 0.2100000 0.00
Caleb Thielbar 0.1000000 0.00
WP - Ricky Nolasco (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Ricky Nolasco 93-59, Anthony Swarzak 24-19, Casey Fien 11-7, Caleb Thielbar 2-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ricky Nolasco 6-5, Anthony Swarzak 1-0, Casey Fien 1-1
Batters Faced - Ricky Nolasco 27, Anthony Swarzak 3, Casey Fien 3, Caleb Thielbar 1
Chicago (A.L.) White Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Adam Eaton, CF4120000 .500
Marcus Semien, 2B4000012 .000
Conor Gillaspie, 3B3110110 .333
Jose Abreu, 1B4121001 .500
Adam Dunn, DH2001111 .000
Avisail Garcia, RF4020011 .500
Alejandro De Aza, LF4223003 .500
Alexei Ramirez, SS3020000 .667
Tyler Flowers, C3000021 .000
Chris Sale, P0000000 .000
   Ronald Belisario, P0000000 .000
   Donnie Veal, P0000000 .000
   Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
Totals31511526  
Batting
2B - Conor Gillaspie (1, Nolasco), Jose Abreu (1, Nolasco)
HR - Alejandro De Aza 2 (2, Nolasco)
SF - Adam Dunn (1)
RBI - Jose Abreu (1), Adam Dunn (1), Alejandro De Aza 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Alejandro De Aza 2 (2)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - A. Ramirez-Semien-Abreu
Chicago (A.L.) White Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Sale (W,1-0) 7.1533180 3.68
Ronald Belisario (H,1) 0.1100010 0.00
Donnie Veal (H,1) 0.1000000 0.00
Matt Lindstrom (S,1) 1100010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Sale 108-70, Ronald Belisario 8-5, Donnie Veal 5-3, Matt Lindstrom 12-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Sale 9-4, Donnie Veal 1-0, Matt Lindstrom 1-1
Batters Faced - Chris Sale 27, Ronald Belisario 2, Donnie Veal 1, Matt Lindstrom 4
Game Information
Attendance - 37422
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Hal Gibson