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Monday, March 31, 2014
Rapid Reaction: White Sox 5, Twins 3

By Doug Padilla


 
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox built an early lead and then held on for a 5-3 Opening Day victory Monday against the Minnesota Twins.

How it happened: The new-look White Sox offense had a solid debut, creating multiple scoring chances and getting some big hits when it needed them. It’s only one game, but new leadoff man Adam Eaton and new cleanup man Jose Abreu each had hits in their first two at-bats. Alejandro De Aza, who lost his starting center-field spot, reemerged in left field and hit a pair of home runs. Chris Sale, in his second consecutive Opening Day start, gave up three runs on five hits over 7⅓ innings. New closer Matt Lindstrom recorded the save, his first since 2011.

What it means: Manager Robin Ventura released a head-scratching lineup, to say the least, but it worked, even if Marcus Semien struggled in the 2-hole. No. 3 hitter Conor Gillaspie had a double and a run scored while reaching base twice. Avisail Garcia, a surprise No. 6 hitter, had two hits, and De Aza benefited from his move from the leadoff spot to the No. 7 hole. Even Alexei Ramirez had two hits after dropping from the No. 2 spot for a bulk of last season to the No. 8 spot on Monday.

Outside the box: De Aza became the first White Sox player to hit two home runs on Opening Day since Jim Thome pulled off the trick in 2008. While both home runs from the left-handed-hitting De Aza came off right-hander Ricky Nolasco, the left-handed-hitting Thome did it against lefty CC Sabathia. It was also the first time a White Sox player hit two home runs in a home opener since Minnie Minoso in 1960 against the Kansas City Athletics.

Off beat: Things haven’t worked out very often for Adam Dunn in a White Sox uniform, but perhaps he’s found a new way to drive in runs. In the third inning, with the defensive shift on, Dunn hit a popup down the left-field line. Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon raced over to make the catch on the line, but Gillaspie was able to tag up and score from third base, making it about a 190-foot sacrifice fly.

Up next: After a day off Tuesday, the White Sox will send right-hander Felipe Paulino to the mound in the second game of the three-game series on Wednesday. The Twins will counter with right-hander Kevin Correia (9-13, 4.18 ERA in 2013) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.