For a brief moment, Kansas City baseball was back. Back with a hint of sarcasm, sure, but we were back. Then the wheels fell off. After jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first, the White Sox responded with 14 unanswered runs to spoil Opening Day in Kansas City to the tune of an 14-7 Chicago win.
It wasn’t without at least a few minutes of joy though. The Royals wasted no time getting after their old friend James Shields, rattling off four consecutive hits to start their 2018 season.
Jon Jay led off with a line drive single to right and moved to third on a Whit Merrifield single that ricochet of the glove of Tim Anderson into center field. Mike Moustakas followed with a single of his own, driving in Jay, to put the Royals up 1-0. Then came Lucas Duda for his first at-bat as a Royal. He promptly deposited 2-0 cutter onto the Pepsi Party Porch to give the Royals a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Danny Duffy was looking dominant, striking out five batters in his first three innings. This included striking out the side in the third.
Duffy would soon find trouble. Avisail Garcia led off the inning with a double down the left-field line and was driven in on a Jose Abreu homer to left that just barely found its way into the bullpen. Matt Davidson wasn’t as gentle, turning a 90 MPH fastball into a 115 MPH home run to bring the White Sox within one.
Following two diving catches by Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar, Tim Anderson joined the home run party, blasting a 1-1 fastball into the left-field bullpen to tie the game up 4-4.
A walk, single, and Yoan Moncada double later, the Royals were trailing 5-4.
The White Sox five-run 4th was the first time in Duffy’s career that he had given up three home runs in an inning. It was also the last of Duffy on the afternoon. He was removed in favor of Blaine Boyer to begin the 5th after giving up five runs in four innings pitched. He did have five strikeouts, at least.
As Royals fans were experiencing a sharp pivot in emotions, the Royals offense was going into standby mode. After beginning the game with four consecutive hits and having five total in the first inning, Shields responded by retiring 10 of his next 11.
And to pile on, the White Sox weren’t done. Davidson padded the White Sox lead with a one-out, solo homer in the 5th to put the south siders up 6-4. To recap, Davidson hit two baseballs a combined 861 feet in the span of 25 minutes.
Things didn’t get better from there. Anderson would follow a Nicky Delmonico walk with another homer to boost the White Sox lead to 8-4.
Chicago would then put together back-to-back three-run innings in the 7th and 8th on a three-run single (?) from Yolmer Sanchez and a three-run homer from Davidson, his third homer of the day.
The six White Sox homers shattered their previous Opening Day high of three that was tied back in 2008.
As the White Sox were sending every available baseball in the metro area into the bleachers, the Royals offense was doing quite the opposite. After their four-run first inning, the Royals managed just three hits the rest of the way.
They did scratch together a few runs in garbage time.
They added one run in the 8th on a Cheslor Cuthbert single and then two more in the 9th on a wild pitch and an RBI groundout from Merrifield.
There’s always tomorrow, right? Well, Saturday. Whatever.
Up Next: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, Saturday, March 31, 6:15 P.M. CST. RHP Lucas Giolito (0-0, -.— ERA) v. Ian Kennedy (0-0, -.— ERA)