White Sox 14, Royals 7: Matt Davidson leads Opening Day barrage

Three-homer game just half of Sox' record-tying total

This game had all the makings of a classic White Sox season opener when James Shields fell behind 4-0 after four batters — three sharp singles, then a Lucas Duda three-run bomb. On the other side, Danny Duffy faced just one over the minimum through three innings.

Then the White Sox scored the next 14 runs, making it a different kind of classic.

Shields came away the winning pitcher, and rather comfortably. He settled down to throw five scoreless innings while the offense jumped Duffy with a three-homer, five-run fourth, which gave the Sox a lead they never relinquished.

The White Sox made Opening Day history by tying the 1988 Mets with six homers. Matt Davidson cemented himself in White Sox lore by contributing three himself. All three were crushed.

First, he followed up Jose Abreu’s two-run shot off Duffy in the fourth with a laser of his own, narrowing the game to 4-3. An inning later, he crushed a solo shot off Blaine Boyer to make it a 6-5 game.

Davidson worked a walk in the seventh inning that interrupted his power surge, yet it still started a three-run seventh. Undeterred, he capped off the scoring with a three-run homer in the eighth, giving the Sox two touchdowns and two extra points on the day.

And to think — he was about 10 feet from a second-inning homer that died on the warning track just inside the right-field foul pole. So it wasn’t a perfect Opening Day, but it was close: 3-for-4, three homers, a walk, four runs scored and five RBIs.

Up until the third homer, Tim Anderson was running neck-and-neck with Davidson.

Anderson tied the game with the Sox’ third homer off Duffy in the fourth. After Davidson blasted Boyer in the fifth, so did Anderson for another two runs. He even drew a walk off Burch Smith, giving him some needed early separation between his batting average and OBP. Alas, while Davidson homered in the eighth, Anderson could only fly out to right.

All that support gave Shields a win, which seemed rather unlikely after a 35-pitch first. He came off the mound appearing to tell Welington Castillo that he wasn’t going to bother nibbling against an aggressive Royals team on a cold day, and it paid off.

  • First inning: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 35 pitches
  • After: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 52 pitches

He gave way to Gregory Infante and Luis Avilan for an inning apiece, and Juan Minaya and Aaron Bummer teamed up for the ninth.

Bullet points:

*After being denied a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, Yolmer Sanchez slashed a full-count, three-run single thanks to a huge jump by Anderson.

*Adam Engel’s hot March survived the shift from the desert. He went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and a strikeout.

*Moncada committed the game’s only error, and it was an odd one. He made a leaping snare on a Duda liner, but dropped the ball on the exchange as he came down. Not sure it was an out, Moncada recovered and threw the ball to first, where Jose Abreu wasn’t covering since he didn’t need to be there. Mike Moustakas, who was on second, advanced to third on the play, and came around to score an unearned run.

*The White Sox didn’t use a mound visit until Minaya started the ninth with five straight pitches out of the zone.

*Take a look at the tags below. As the season goes on, the plan is that these tags will be able to trace games featuring esoteric events such as errors, TOOTBLANs, and other notable occurrences.

Record: 1-0 | Box score

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Anohito

Those tags sound like a fantastic idea!

Very very fun opening day. The shields getting shelled was expected, him settling in after that was the actual surprise.

Take a breather, soak it in, and then Go Go Giolito!

Patrick Nolan

Agree — the tags are a great move.

Trooper Galactus

Only one game in, but if Davidson and Engel have both figured things out at the plate and play to their level of physical talent, that really will make for an interesting run at the division. Was nice to see Shields rebound and throw six solid, though zero strikeouts is concerning.

ParisSox

GrinnellSteve?

Trooper Galactus

So three homers on opening day has happened four times now. This is the third it was coughed up by the Royals.

theSKOT

I realize it’s a bit early for this, but Davisdon is on Pace to hit 486 home runs!

seven11

When you adjust for park factor, I don’t think 500 is a stretch at all.

steely3000

If he hits only 80 I’ll be happy.

The Wimperoo

On a day when home runs came in bunches, I believe Shields gave the Sox all they could ask. Huzzah White Sox! Starting the 162-0 bandwagon. Who’s with me?

tommytwonines

Huzzah!

MrTopaz

His sides are made of iron!

Eagle Bones

That was fun

ChunkySlugger72

Just like I stuck by Avisail Garcia, I have had a longer leash on Davidson as well and one of my predictions before the start of the season was that Matt Davidson will be this year’s Avisail Garcia ,but with more ding dongs, lot of RBI’s ,but a lower average(as expected)and be our primary DH/3B. So far, So good.

GrinnellSteve

My enthusiasm for this team didn’t even factor in competence or better from Davidson. I figured Nicky would bump him after Eloy came up.

I have them at 90 wins. If Matty can tap into his power, that would be a bonus.

ChunkySlugger72

I’m really pulling for Delmonico not just because he has really become a fan favorite as of late ,but the guy is the definition of a South Sider,coming from no where in the minors and finally grinding his way to the bigs. Hoping he can be at least average in LF and provide a solid bat,anything extra would be gravy.

GrinnellSteve

Nicky D had a good game today. His at bats against Duffy looked solid.

jorgefabregas

He was actually a highly touted prospect at one time. He got a $1.5 million signing bonus.

tommytwonines

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yinkadoubledare

I liked that not only did Davidson, Anderson and Engel hit the ball, but took walks as well. Davidson was a 2 True Outcomes guy, adding more of the third true outcome would make him a much better hitter

bonomo

Hooray for extra small sample size. A fun, rockin’ day.

StockroomSnail

I was ready to rant at the clouds about Shields but there will be other opportunities for that.

Keep crushing the monarchy!

ParisSox

This was great!  And lack of Ks from dudes not named Moncada is a small plus.  

ParisSox

What’s everyone’s thoughts about the broadcast?  I thought Stone and Benetti were quite witty and bringing the RELEVANT stats.  That was nice.   

Also I like Jason’s “why’s” for Stone except when asking about pitchers cleaning their spikes. But sss.  I like this pairing a lot.  

KenWo4LiFe

I found myself wishing Hawk was calling the game to hear him go nutsy for Davidson’s third blast.

madridsox

Yeah. I didn’t miss Hawk, except for that moment. Benetti just didn’t seem enthusiastic enough. I sure yelled louder…and it was almost 1:00 a.m. here…in Frankfurt…Germany…home of Nachtruhe

ParisSox

I like that Benetti acknowledged Hawk’s claim on “Ricky’s boys don’t quit. “. It’s a great final contribution from the Hawkeroo.

Patrick Nolan

Maybe they should just make it so that Hawk is in the booth for the whole game with Jason and Steve but is only allowed to talk when something really exciting happens.

Red_Hair_White_Sox

So a normal broadcast from last season except Jason is also there

StockroomSnail

You really only have ever needed a Hawk soundboard.

StockroomSnail

I still think Jason doesn’t build/ show excitement well. His home run calls are a snooze. But I think he does pretty much everything else well.

steely3000

I loved the single by Engel against the shift. He couldn’t have thrown it better. I sure hope he keeps it up, hitting to all fields.

DrCrawdad

Woke up this morning checked the standings, your 1st place White Sox! Sole possession of 1st.

Patrick Nolan

Adam Engel begins the March to 2.0 WAR. I’m debating making this into a weekly update feature but probably won’t have the time, particularly early in the year during preview season.

Great game for Davidson…it would be great for him to prove his doubters (myself chief among them) wrong.

Trooper Galactus

I think more than a few of us will be pitching in for an apologetic fruit basket for Davidson if he keeps hitting.