Don’t flip out — Royals win
Hernandez, K.C. stifle ChiSox, 3-0
Kansas City, Mo. ? The young Kansas City Royals were hoping for this kind of start.
Runelvys Hernandez allowed two hits in six innings and rookie Angel Berroa drove in the go-ahead run, helping the Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0 Monday — Kansas City’s first opening-day win in five years.
Kansas City got key contributions from its rookies: Mike MacDougal pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to complete a three-hitter, designated hitter Ken Harvey doubled twice and Berroa made a fine defensive play at shortstop in the ninth inning.
“We have a lot of young guys, no doubt about that,” Harvey said. “But us young guys have proven ourselves in the minor leagues. Once we get over being in awe of the major leagues, we’ll be fine.”
Hernandez, given the opening-day start over Jeremy Affeldt by winning a coin flip, struck out five and walked only one.
“I feel so great, so very, very happy about that,” said the 24-year-old right-hander, 4-4 last year as a rookie. “They have confidence about me and I don’t want to lose that.”
Jason Grimsley gave up one hit in two innings, and the sellout crowd stood for MacDougal, who threw a called third strike past Frank Thomas for the second out.
“Their young kids pitched well,” said Thomas, who also was thrown out at the plate by third baseman Joe Randa in the seventh. “Hernandez hit his spots. We were all shocked he threw four pitches for strikes. He did whatever he wanted, and we started chasing.”
A sellout crowd of 40,302 was at Kauffman Stadium, and the temperature was 73 at gametime. A stealth bomber flew over the stadium after the national anthem.
Mark Buehrle, 19-12 last year, became the first left-hander to make consecutive opening-day starts for the White Sox since Wilbur Wood from 1972-76. Buehrle gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings.
“Tip your hat to Hernandez,” Buehrle said. “Except for one inning, I settled down.”
Chicago, expected to contend for the AL Central division title, opened on the road for the 13th consecutive season.
Kansas City, coming off a 62-100 season, went ahead in the second. Brandon Berger, given the start in right field because half of his eight career homers have come off Buehrle, walked and went to third on Harvey’s first double.
Berroa singled and Brent Mayne followed with an RBI double — with Berroa out at the plate on a strong relay throw from second baseman D’Angelo Jimenez.
Mike Sweeney doubled in the eighth, went to third on a passed ball and scored on former Royal Tom Gordon’s wild pitch.
Harvey was cut down at the plate in the sixth by third baseman Joe Crede.