CHICAGO (AP) — Alejandro De Aza hit two homers, and Jose Abreu had two hits in his major league debut to back Chris Sale and lead the Chicago White Sox to a 5-3 season-opening victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
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 wasn’t in the lineup. The White Sox started the season with a win after losing 99 games last season.
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.
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 after giving up a leadoff double to Aaron Hicks in the eighth and striking out Eduardo Escobar.
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 manager Robin Ventura before the game. The right-hander gave up a one-out double to Chris Colabello before striking out Trevor Plouffe and retiring Oswaldo 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, Nolasco gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings.
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 their 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.
The White Sox, who believe they are poised to make a jump this year, struck early and answered quickly after Minnesota tied it.
Abreu, signed to a $68 million, six-year deal in the offseason, and De Aza provided the big hits.
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. He was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, after a lump was found in his neck, and had surgery in February.
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