Chris Sale struck out eight in a solid season debut to build off his franchise record last year, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Monday night.
Adam Eaton hit an RBI triple and Jimmy Rollins drove in a run during a four-run third inning in his first game with the White Sox playing back home in the East Bay.
What had been planned as a marquee matchup between two American League aces never happened. Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray was scratched because of food poisoning that sent him to the emergency room.
Sale didn’t get his opening day start last season, when Jeff Samardzija took the ball after Sale was slowed by a broken right foot. Sale went on to finish 13-11 with a team-record 274 strikeouts.
The left-hander didn’t allow a runner Monday until Stephen Vogt beat out an infield single with one out in the third.
Sale (1-0) went seven innings. He gave up three runs and seven hits with one walk.
White Sox closer David Robertson allowed Coco Crisp’s leadoff walk in the ninth and then finished with three straight outs for the save, preserving Sale’s first victory at the Oakland Coliseum in five outings and three starts.
Jed Lowrie hit a two-run single and Billy Butler had a pair of doubles for the A’s. Lowrie drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and advanced when Zach Duke came in and induced Josh Reddick’s groundout before Nate Jones got the final two outs of the inning.
A’s lefty Rich Hill (0-1) made a forgettable Oakland debut in his first career opening day start. It lasted just 2 2-3 innings after he replaced Gray.