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Nolasco, Twins come up short vs. White Sox 5-3

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 31, 2014 at 7:48 pm •  Published: March 31, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) — Ricky Nolasco liked everything but the result. That was just a little too familiar for the Twins.

Nolasco was outpitched by Chris Sale, giving up two home runs to Alejandro De Aza and two hits to the debuting Jose Abreu, and Minnesota opened the season on Monday with a 5-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

It wasn't exactly what the Twins envisioned after losing 291 games the past three years.

They spent $73 million to bring in Nolasco and Phil Hughes to bolster a struggling rotation, and brought back manager Ron Gardenhire on a two-year deal. They also moved Joe Mauer from catcher to first base in an effort to protect their star from injury.

The moves might pay off down the road, but they didn't yet against Sale and the White Sox.

Nolasco took the loss in a shaky debut with Minnesota. One of the top free agent pitchers last winter, he gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings.

"I felt great," Nolasco said. "I thought I made a lot of good pitches. ... I thought they found some holes there. A lot of pretty good pitches I made and windy conditions didn't help.

"I thought we played good, we battled all game. Put up some runs, gave a good fight to Chris Sale and made it interesting late. Come back tomorrow or the next day and try and build off that."

Sale got the win, pitching five-hit ball into the eighth.

Paul Konerko received a loud ovation before what was likely his final opener, although he wasn't in the lineup. The White Sox started the season with a win after losing 99 games last season.

Abreu doubled on the first pitch he saw leading off the second inning 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."

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