CHICAGO (AP) — As openers go, this one was promising for the Chicago White Sox.
Now, all they have to do is build on it.
Alejandro De Aza hit two homers, and Jose Abreu had two hits in his major league debut to back Chris Sale and lead the White Sox to a 5-3 season-opening victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
"It's a big deal because of what last year was," manager Robin Ventura said.
Last year was a 99-loss nightmare, a collapse after they finished second in the AL Central in 2012.
This year, they insist, will be better. They are off to a good start, even if they beat a team that is trying to stop a losing cycle.
Sale got the win, pitching five-hit ball into the eighth.
Paul Konerko got a loud ovation before what was likely his final opener, although he didn't play. The White Sox got clutch hits, hustled on the bases, and played error-free ball to start the season on a winning note.
Abreu doubled on the first pitch he saw leading off the second inning against Ricky Nolasco and scored on De Aza's two-run homer to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.
He also drove in the go-ahead run with a single during a two-run third after Minnesota's Kurt Suzuki tied it with a two-run single in the top half.
It was a good start for Abreu, who insisted he didn't feel any real first-game jitters. That line drive double to right, on a ball that Oswaldo Arcia appeared to misjudge, didn't hurt.
"You wanted to get that first one out of the way," Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68 million deal in the offseason, said through an interpreter. "Once you get it, it's a very happy moment. The first thing I thought of was my mother."
Abreu's family is expected to join him at some point this season. He wouldn't say where his mom is, other than "somewhere close, but we can't really comment on that."
De Aza made it 5-2 with a solo shot just over the right-field wall in the sixth inning for his first career multihomer game. It was also the first for Chicago on opening day since Jim Thome at Cleveland in 2008, and the first by a White Sox player in a season opener at home since 1960, when Minnie Minoso hit two against the Kansas City Athletics.