Chris Sale out-pitched James Shields, Tyler Flowers homered and the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 1-0 in the season opener on Monday.
A dominant performance by Sale and Flowers’ drive leading off the fifth against Shields was 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 (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, and he left to a standing ovation after Alcides Escobar’s single with two outs in the eighth.
Making his Kansas City debut as the Opening Day starter, Shields’ lone blemish was the hanging change-up that Flowers knocked over the left-field wall for the game’s only run. Shields left after six innings, giving up eight hits, no walks, and striking out six White Sox batters.