Not only did the KC Royals raise their American League Champions banner and receive their AL Champion rings, they also won their first home opener since 2008. And boy did they win it.
The offense sputtered in the first, but got something going in the second against Jeff Samardzija. It all started with a Kendrys Morales walk, followed by Alex Gordon taking a pitch off his thigh (one pitch after fouling a ball off his foot). With two outs, Salvador Perez singled to right field to give the Royals the lead.
Lorenzo Cain drove in a run with a single in the third and came around to score on a wild pitch. Mike Moustakas hit the Royals first home run in the fifth.
Then the 7th inning happened.
After back-to-back walks to start the inning, White Sox reliever Dan Jennings then got two outs before intentionally walking Morales. Gordon followed with a two-run single up the middle. After another pitching change, Alex Rios hit a two-run home run (he had just four homers total in 2014).
The Royals tacked on another run in the eighth on Eric Hosmer‘s two out single.
It didn’t start out so well for Royals starter Yordano Ventura (or end that well, as he left due to injury). He allowed a one out single to former Royal Melky Cabrera in the first and then had runners at second and third base with two outs in the second. The White Sox didn’t score and Ventura cruised from there (until he allowed a leadoff home run to Jose Abreu in the seventh).
The Royals bullpen did their thing: Kelvin Herrera entered in the seventh and was perfect. Wade Davis induced three ground outs in the eighth.
Ryan Madson, who had not thrown a big league pitch since the end of the 2011 season, pitched the ninth. I can only imagine the nerves he was feeling. He allowed a leadoff single through the 3-4 hole, but then induced a double play. After a walk to Abreu, Adam LaRoche popped up on the infield to end the game.
After an off day on Tuesday, the Royals are back out there at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night against the White Sox. Danny Duffy will get the start against Jose Quintana.
*Ventura’s injury does not seem to be serious. He left with a thumb cramp.
**On the home run front, it seemed that every game across MLB had at least two home runs hit today.
***The Royals pounded out 13 hits, five for extra bases. Rios and Morales both had great debuts: Rios had three hits and Morales walked three times. Alcides Escobar, Moose, and Perez each had two hits in the win.