Royals seek 2-0 start versus White Sox

( – The Kansas City Royals try to make it two straight wins
to start the season on Wednesday when they continue a three-game set with the
Chicago White Sox.

Kansas City raised its American League championship banner on Monday, then
proceeded to pound the White Sox, as Yordano Ventura fired six-plus sharp
innings, Alex Rios went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, and the Royals rolled
to a 10-1 triumph.

Mike Moustakas also homered and scored twice, while Alex Gordon delivered a
two-run single and Alcides Escobar ended 2-for-4 with three runs scored as the
Royals began their title defense with a performance much like the ones they
produced for most of October.

“A home run always feels good,” said Moustakas. “I was happy that we extended
the lead against a team like that.”

Ventura (1-0) was forced to exit in the seventh inning with a minor cramp in
his right thumb, about the only negative experience witnessed by the sold-out
Kauffman Stadium crowd.

Prior to departing, the talented young hurler surrendered just one run, four
hits and a walk.

Jeff Samardzija (0-1), one of several high-profile offseason acquisitions that
have raised expectations in Chicago, conversely had a disappointing White Sox
debut. The former Cubs ace was charged with five runs, walked three and hit
two batters over six-plus innings of work.

“It goes to show you how important it is to not give free passes,” Samardzija
said. “They had it working for them today.”

Reigning AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu had the White Sox’ lone highlight,
slamming a solo homer off Ventura in the seventh inning.

Getting the call for the Royals on Wednesday will be lefty Danny Duffy, who
was 9-12 last season with a 2.53 ERA over 31 games (25 starts). Duffy, though,
did not impress this spring, pitching to a 4.91 ERA in the Cactus League.

His last start last season came against the White Sox, who battered him for
four runs in just two innings. However, he is 2-1 in four starts against them
with a 3.24 ERA.

Chicago, meanwhile, will turn to a southpaw of its own in the underrated Jose
Quintana, who has seen his ERA go down every year and has worked at least 200
innings in each of the past two seasons.

Quintana was 9-11 last season with a 3.32 ERA. ALthough none of those wins
came against the Royals, as he is 0-6 lifetime versus them with a 4.38 ERA in
12 starts.

The 26-year-old hurler pitched well this spring, posting an impressive 19/3
K/BB ratio over 23 2/3 Cactus League innings.

Kansas City won 13 of its 19 meetings with the White Sox last season.