Mar. 28, 2019

By Fred Liggett

The wait for the Kansas City Royals and their fans to play ball in 2019 was longer than expected as the team waited out a one hour and 46 minute rain delay before taking the field.

Tribune Photo | Joey Hedges

Once on the field the team led by Pitcher Brad Keller overcame a late comeback by the Chicago White Sox to secure a 5-3 win. 

The Royals plan to use speed to score runs was apparent in their first run of the new season. In the fourth inning SS Adalberto Mondesi hit a triple for the team’s first hit of the game.

The next batter up was LF Alex Gordon who hit a deep fly to right to bring Mondesi home and make it 1-0 Royals.

The Royals would add to the lead in the sixth on a Jorge Soler RBI single. An error on the White Sox enabled Gordon to score later in the inning making it 3-0. In the seventh the Royals got the eventual winning run thanks to another Mondesi triple driving in Whit Merrifield.

A Soler double drove in Gordon later in the inning giving the Royals a 5-0 lead. The White Sox battled back in the top of ninth inning scoring three runs off of Royals relievers. The Royals used three different relievers to get the final three outs. 

For many Royals fans opening day 2019 was about Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller who gave up just two hits in seven innings of work. Keller was the youngest opening day starter for the Royals since 1973 when Steve Busby was also 23 years old.

Royals Manager Ned Yost after the game said “Keller was outstanding.” Keller spoke of the pressure of an opening day start “Just wanted to get the team off to a right start. Everything happened really fast once it got started.”  Following a day off on Friday it’s back to work for both the Royals and White Sox.

The Royals have Jake Junis on the mound for Saturday’s 1:15 p.m. game. Sunday’s game also at 1:15 p.m. will wrap up the three-game series between the two AL Central Division rivals.