Keller pitches Royals past White Sox 5-3 in rainy opener

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) On the first day of the season, Brad Keller gave the Kansas City Royals plenty of reason for optimism.

Keller pitched two-hit ball over seven shutout innings, Adalberto Mondesi tripled twice and the Royals held off the Chicago White Sox 5-3 Thursday after the start of their 2019 opener was delayed nearly two hours by rain.

''Man, if we keep pitching like that, we're going to be pretty good,'' Kansas City reliever Brad Boxberger said. ''He just went out there and did his thing. That's setting the tone for the season. Being able to do what he did is absolutely incredible.''

Eloy Jimenez went 0 for 3 with an RBI in his major league debut for the White Sox after signing a $43 million, six-year contract - a record high for a player under club control yet to appear in a big league game. The 22-year-old outfielder was nicked on the left toe by a pitch with the bases loaded in a three-run ninth.

Chicago loaded the bases again before Boxberger, the fourth Royals reliever of the inning, retired Yolmer Sanchez on a line drive to deep right field for the final out.

''That's kind of the definition of our team this year,'' Keller said. ''We're going to play great defense and we're going to run the bases and manufacture runs. It gives you confidence, because it's fun to watch. When you're pitching you know you don't have to strike out everyone because you have a great defense behind you. You're like, `Let them hit it because they're going to make the play.'''

Jorge Soler drove in two runs and Whit Merrifield scored twice for the speedy Royals. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 21 games dating to last season and stole two bases - he led the majors with 45 steals a year ago.

Keller (1-0) struck out five and walked one to help the Royals improve to 18-33 on opening day.

Kansas City finished 58-104 a year ago.

''Keller was outstanding,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''He went back out after a long sixth, and made an adjustment after two pitches because he was a little off and got right back on it. You can't ask for a better opening day start than what we got from him today.''

Boxberger got one out for a save in his Kansas City debut. Mondesi joined Tony Pena (2007) as the only Royals players to hit two triples in a season opener.

''It feels good,'' Mondesi said. ''We just have to keep working and stay focused, doing the little things that are working.''

Carlos Rodon (0-1) started for the White Sox and was charged with three runs - two earned - and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.

''I thought Carlos threw the ball well,'' Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. ''He probably had to make a few more pitches. We had an error earlier. I think the ball was a little wet and (Tim Anderson) wasn't able to handle it. He induced that potential double-play ball that ended up deflecting off his mitt. Other than that, I thought he kept us in the ballgame, did a nice job.''

Chicago won 14-7 in Kansas City on opening day last year.

Mondesi tripled in the fourth and scored on Alex Gordon's sacrifice fly. Mondesi initially was ruled out at third base, but replays showed Yoan Moncada didn't get the tag down in time and the call was reversed.

Rodon gave up a bloop single to Merrifield leading off the sixth. He stole second and third before Rodon plunked Alex Gordon with a pitch. Soler followed with an RBI single and the Royals got another run on an error by Sanchez at second base, ending Rodon's day.

Mondesi's second triple scored Merrifield in the seventh. Soler added an RBI double.

Anderson had an RBI single for Chicago in the ninth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals LHPs Danny Duffy and Brian Flynn were placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 25. Duffy (left shoulder) has one more live batting practice session scheduled before beginning a rehab assignment. Flynn (sprained elbow ligament) is also throwing live batting practice but isn't as far along as Duffy. ''They're both coming,'' Yost said. ''I don't know when.''

TOP PROSPECTS

White Sox: Jimenez started in left field and struck out in his first at-bat. He was one of six Chicago players to appear on an opening day roster for the first time. ''He took some hacks (and) saw that they're not going to be giving in to him easily,'' Renteria said. ''I think today was a great learning experience for him, to know that they're not just going to be giving him cookies. He's going to have to look for mistakes out over when they don't want to give in to him.''

Royals: First baseman Frank Schwindel made his big league debut as well. He popped out in his first at-bat and finished 0 for 4, but reached base safely on two errors. He is one of eight Royals who were not in the majors last year on opening day.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez starts Saturday when the series continues.

Royals: RHP Jakob Junis goes for Kansas City in the second game of the season.

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123456789RHE
000000003343
KC1-0
00010220X550
  • W: B. Keller (1-0)L: C. Rodon (0-1)S: B. Boxberger (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
L. Garcia CF41100000.250.250.250.5002.0
Y. Moncada 3B31100100.333.500.333.8333.0
J. Abreu 1B40100003.250.250.250.5001.0
Y. Alonso DH30000111.000.250.000.2500.5
E. Jimenez LF31010021.000.250.000.2502.0
D. Palka RF30010112.000.250.000.2501.5
A. Engel PR00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
T. Anderson SS40110011.250.250.250.5001.5
J. McCann C30000000.000.000.000.0000.0
a- W. Castillo PH00000100.0001.000.0001.0001.0
Y. Sanchez 2B40000003.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-walked for McCann in the 9th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
W. Merrifield RF32100101.333.500.333.8338.0
A. Mondesi SS41210021.500.5001.5002.0007.0
A. Gordon LF22010001.000.250.000.2504.0
J. Soler DH40220020.500.500.7501.2504.0
F. Schwindel 1B40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
C. Owings 2B30000102.000.250.000.2501.0
H. Dozier 3B30000123.000.250.000.2500.0
M. Maldonado C40000014.000.000.000.000-0.5
B. Hamilton CF40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
    BATTING
    • RBI - E. Jimenez, D. Palka, T. Anderson
    • 2-Out RBI - T. Anderson
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Abreu, E. Jimenez, T. Anderson, Y. Sanchez 3 (3)
    BATTING
    • 2B - J. Soler
    • 3B - A. Mondesi 2 (2)
    • SF - A. Gordon
    • RBI - A. Mondesi, A. Gordon, J. Soler 2 (2)
    • 2-Out RBI - J. Soler
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - W. Merrifield, C. Owings 2 (2), M. Maldonado 3 (3), B. Hamilton
    BASERUNNING
    • SB - W. Merrifield 2 (2)
    FIELDING
    • E - T. Anderson, D. Covey, Y. Sanchez
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    C. Rodon (L, 0-1)5.13321603.380.757.0
    N. Jones0.20001100.001.50-0.5
    R. Burr0.212210027.003.00-4.0
    D. Covey1.11000000.000.752.0
    PITCHERSIP
    C. Rodon (L, 0-1)5.1
    N. Jones0.2
    R. Burr0.2
    D. Covey1.1
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    B. Keller (W, 1-0)7.02001500.000.4330.5
    I. Kennedy1.00000000.000.003.0
    W. Peralta0.112210054.006.00-4.0
    J. Diekman0.101110027.003.00-2.0
    K. McCarthy0.01001000.000.00-2.0
    B. Boxberger (S, 1)0.10000000.000.007.0
    PITCHERSIP
    B. Keller (W, 1-0)7.0
    I. Kennedy1.0
    W. Peralta0.1
    J. Diekman0.1
    K. McCarthy0.0
    B. Boxberger (S, 1)0.1
    PITCHING
    • HBP - C. Rodon
    • Pitches-Strikes - C. Rodon 95-60, N. Jones 12-6, R. Burr 26-14, D. Covey 17-11
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Rodon 3-9, N. Jones 1-0, R. Burr 2-0, D. Covey 3-2
    • Batters Faced - C. Rodon 23, N. Jones 3, R. Burr 4, D. Covey 6
    PITCHING
    • HBP - J. Diekman
    • Pitches-Strikes - B. Keller 92-55, I. Kennedy 7-4, W. Peralta 9-5, J. Diekman 17-10, K. McCarthy 8-3, B. Boxberger 3-2
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - B. Keller 8-8, I. Kennedy 2-1, J. Diekman 1-0
    • Batters Faced - B. Keller 24, I. Kennedy 3, W. Peralta 3, J. Diekman 3, K. McCarthy 2, B. Boxberger
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    000000003343
    KC1-0
    00010220X550
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    L. Garcia CF41100000.250.250.250.5002.0
    Y. Moncada 3B31100100.333.500.333.8333.0
    J. Abreu 1B40100003.250.250.250.5001.0
    Y. Alonso DH30000111.000.250.000.2500.5
    E. Jimenez LF31010021.000.250.000.2502.0
    D. Palka RF30010112.000.250.000.2501.5
    A. Engel PR00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    T. Anderson SS40110011.250.250.250.5001.5
    J. McCann C30000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    a- W. Castillo PH00000100.0001.000.0001.0001.0
    Y. Sanchez 2B40000003.000.000.000.0000.0
    Total3134304511-----
    • a-walked for McCann in the 9th
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    W. Merrifield RF32100101.333.500.333.8338.0
    A. Mondesi SS41210021.500.5001.5002.0007.0
    A. Gordon LF22010001.000.250.000.2504.0
    J. Soler DH40220020.500.500.7501.2504.0
    F. Schwindel 1B40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
    C. Owings 2B30000102.000.250.000.2501.0
    H. Dozier 3B30000123.000.250.000.2500.0
    M. Maldonado C40000014.000.000.000.000-0.5
    B. Hamilton CF40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
    Total3155403716-----
      BATTING
      • RBI - E. Jimenez, D. Palka, T. Anderson
      • 2-Out RBI - T. Anderson
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Abreu, E. Jimenez, T. Anderson, Y. Sanchez 3 (3)
      BATTING
      • 2B - J. Soler
      • 3B - A. Mondesi 2 (2)
      • SF - A. Gordon
      • RBI - A. Mondesi, A. Gordon, J. Soler 2 (2)
      • 2-Out RBI - J. Soler
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - W. Merrifield, C. Owings 2 (2), M. Maldonado 3 (3), B. Hamilton
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - W. Merrifield 2 (2)
      FIELDING
      • E - T. Anderson, D. Covey, Y. Sanchez
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      C. Rodon (L, 0-1)5.13321603.380.757.0
      N. Jones0.20001100.001.50-0.5
      R. Burr0.212210027.003.00-4.0
      D. Covey1.11000000.000.752.0
      Total8.0554370---
      PITCHERSIP
      C. Rodon (L, 0-1)5.1
      N. Jones0.2
      R. Burr0.2
      D. Covey1.1
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      B. Keller (W, 1-0)7.02001500.000.4330.5
      I. Kennedy1.00000000.000.003.0
      W. Peralta0.112210054.006.00-4.0
      J. Diekman0.101110027.003.00-2.0
      K. McCarthy0.01001000.000.00-2.0
      B. Boxberger (S, 1)0.10000000.000.007.0
      Total9.0433450---
      PITCHERSIP
      B. Keller (W, 1-0)7.0
      I. Kennedy1.0
      W. Peralta0.1
      J. Diekman0.1
      K. McCarthy0.0
      B. Boxberger (S, 1)0.1
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • HBP - C. Rodon
      • Pitches-Strikes - C. Rodon 95-60, N. Jones 12-6, R. Burr 26-14, D. Covey 17-11
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Rodon 3-9, N. Jones 1-0, R. Burr 2-0, D. Covey 3-2
      • Batters Faced - C. Rodon 23, N. Jones 3, R. Burr 4, D. Covey 6
      PITCHING
      • HBP - J. Diekman
      • Pitches-Strikes - B. Keller 92-55, I. Kennedy 7-4, W. Peralta 9-5, J. Diekman 17-10, K. McCarthy 8-3, B. Boxberger 3-2
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - B. Keller 8-8, I. Kennedy 2-1, J. Diekman 1-0
      • Batters Faced - B. Keller 24, I. Kennedy 3, W. Peralta 3, J. Diekman 3, K. McCarthy 2, B. Boxberger
      • 9TH INNING
        Anderson singled to left, Jimenez scored, Engel to third35
        Palka reached on fielder's choice to third, Moncada scored, Alonso out at third, Jimenez to second25
        Jimenez hit by pitch, Garcia scored, Moncada to third, Alonso to second15
      • 7TH INNING
        Soler doubled to deep left, Gordon scored05
        Mondesi tripled to deep right center, Merrifield scored04
      • 6TH INNING
        Schwindel safe at first on 2nd baseman Sanchez fielding error, Gordon scored, Soler to third03
        Soler singled to left, Merrifield scored, Gordon to second02
      • 4TH INNING
        Gordon hit sacrifice fly to right, Mondesi scored01
      • 9TH INNING
        • Wily Peralta relieved Ian Kennedy
        • L. Garcia: Strike looking, Garcia singled to center
        • Y. Moncada: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Moncada walked, Garcia to second
        • J. Abreu: Strike looking, Abreu popped out to first
        • Jake Diekman relieved Wily Peralta
        • Y. Alonso: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Alonso walked, Garcia to third, Moncada to second
        • E. Jimenez: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Jimenez hit by pitch, Garcia scored, Moncada to third, Alonso to second
        • D. Palka: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Palka reached on fielder's choice to third, Moncada scored, Alonso out at third, Jimenez to second
        • Kevin McCarthy relieved Jake Diekman
        • Adam Engel ran for Daniel Palka
        • T. Anderson: Ball, Anderson singled to left, Jimenez scored, Engel to third
        • Welington Castillo hit for James McCann
        • W. Castillo: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Castillo walked, Anderson to second
        • Brad Boxberger relieved Kevin McCarthy
        • Y. Sanchez: Strike looking, Ball, Sanchez lined out to right
        • Middle of the 9th (3 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Ian Kennedy relieved Brad Keller
        • T. Anderson: Ball, Anderson grounded out to shortstop
        • J. McCann: Strike looking, McCann grounded out to second
        • Y. Sanchez: Ball, Ball, Sanchez flied out to right
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • D. Covey Pitching:
        • H. Dozier: Strike looking, Ball, Dozier lined out to right
        • M. Maldonado: Strike looking, Maldonado grounded out to third
        • B. Hamilton: Ball, Hamilton fouled out to third
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • Y. Alonso: Ball, Foul, Ball, Alonso lined out to right
        • E. Jimenez: Strike looking, Ball, Jimenez grounded out to second
        • D. Palka: Ball, Palka lined out to right
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Ryan Burr relieved Nate Jones
        • B. Hamilton: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Hamilton grounded out to pitcher
        • W. Merrifield: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Merrifield walked
        • A. Mondesi: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Mondesi tripled to deep right center, Merrifield scored
        • A. Gordon: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Gordon reached on fielder's choice to shortstop, Mondesi out at home
        • Dylan Covey relieved Ryan Burr
        • J. Soler: Strike looking, Soler doubled to deep left, Gordon scored
        • F. Schwindel: Ball, Ball, Schwindel safe at first on Covey throwing error, Soler to third
        • C. Owings: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Owings grounded out to first
        • End of the 7th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 1 Error)
      • 6TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • Y. Sanchez: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Sanchez lined out to right
        • L. Garcia: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Garcia grounded out to catcher
        • Y. Moncada: Strike looking, Ball, Moncada singled to right center
        • J. Abreu: Abreu popped out to third
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • C. Rodon Pitching:
        • W. Merrifield: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Merrifield singled to right center
        • A. Mondesi: Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul tip, Mondesi struck out on foul tip, Merrifield stole second
        • A. Gordon: Ball, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Merrifield stole third, Ball, Gordon hit by pitch
        • J. Soler: Ball, Foul, Ball, Soler singled to left, Merrifield scored, Gordon to second
        • F. Schwindel: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Schwindel safe at first on 2nd baseman Sanchez fielding error, Gordon scored, Soler to third
        • Nate Jones relieved Carlos Rodon
        • C. Owings: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Owings walked, Schwindel to second
        • H. Dozier: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Dozier struck out looking
        • M. Maldonado: Maldonado grounded out to second
        • End of the 6th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 1 Error)
      • 5TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • D. Palka: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Palka struck out swinging
        • T. Anderson: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Anderson struck out swinging
        • J. McCann: Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, McCann flied out to right
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Rodon Pitching:
        • C. Owings: Foul, Owings grounded out to third
        • H. Dozier: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Dozier walked
        • M. Maldonado: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul tip, Maldonado struck out on foul tip
        • B. Hamilton: Ball, Foul, Foul, Hamilton fouled out to third
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • Y. Moncada: Moncada lined out to left
        • J. Abreu: Ball, Foul, Abreu singled to center
        • Y. Alonso: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Alonso struck out swinging
        • E. Jimenez: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Jimenez struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • C. Rodon Pitching:
        • A. Mondesi: Mondesi tripled to deep right
        • A. Gordon: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Gordon hit sacrifice fly to right, Mondesi scored
        • J. Soler: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Soler struck out swinging
        • F. Schwindel: Foul, Ball, Schwindel fouled out to third
        • End of the 4th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • J. McCann: Ball, McCann grounded out to shortstop
        • Y. Sanchez: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Sanchez grounded out to second
        • L. Garcia: Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Garcia lined out to center
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Rodon Pitching:
        • H. Dozier: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Dozier struck out swinging
        • M. Maldonado: Strike looking, Maldonado safe at first on shortstop Anderson throwing error, Maldonado to second
        • B. Hamilton: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Hamilton popped out to shortstop
        • W. Merrifield: Ball, Merrifield lined out to third
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 1 Error)
      • 2ND INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • Y. Alonso: Alonso grounded out to third
        • E. Jimenez: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Jimenez struck out swinging
        • D. Palka: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Palka walked
        • T. Anderson: Anderson grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Rodon Pitching:
        • J. Soler: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike looking, Soler struck out looking
        • F. Schwindel: Ball, Ball, Schwindel popped out to first
        • C. Owings: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Owings lined out to shortstop
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • L. Garcia: Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Garcia grounded out to pitcher
        • Y. Moncada: Ball, Moncada lined out to center
        • J. Abreu: Strike looking, Ball, Abreu grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Rodon Pitching:
        • W. Merrifield: Foul, Merrifield lined out to center
        • A. Mondesi: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Mondesi struck out swinging
        • A. Gordon: Ball, Foul, Ball, Gordon flied out to deep center
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)