KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brad Keller pitched two-hit ball over seven shutout innings, Adalberto Mondesi tripled twice and the Kansas Royals held off the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on Thursday after the start of their season opener was delayed nearly two hours by rain.
Eloy Jimenez went 0-for-3 with an RBI in his major league debut for Chicago after signing a $43 million, six-year contract — a record high for a player under club control yet to appear in a big league game. The 22-year-old outfielder was nicked on the left toe by a pitch with the bases loaded in a three-run ninth.
With the sacks full again, Brad Boxberger retired Yolmer Sanchez on a line drive to deep right field for the final out.
Jorge Soler drove in two runs and Whit Merrifield scored twice for the speedy Royals. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 21 games dating to last season and stole two bases — he led the majors with 45 steals a year ago.
Keller (1-0) struck out five and walked one to help the Royals improve to 18-33 on opening day. Boxberger got one out for a save in his Kansas City debut.
Mondesi joined Tony Pena (2007) as the only Royals players to hit two triples in a season opener.
Carlos Rodon (0-1) started for the White Sox and was charged with three runs — two earned — and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Chicago won 14-7 in Kansas City on opening day last year.
Mondesi tripled in the fourth and scored on Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly. Mondesi initially was ruled out at third base, but replays showed Yoan Moncada didn’t get the tag down in time and the call was reversed.
Rodon gave up a bloop single to Merrifield leading off the sixth. He stole second and third before Rodon plunked Alex Gordon with a pitch. Soler followed with an RBI single and the Royals got another run on an error by Sanchez at second base, ending Rodon’s day.
Mondesi’s second triple scored Merrifield in the seventh. Soler added an RBI double.
Tim Anderson had an RBI single for Chicago in the ninth.
Royals LHPs Danny Duffy and Brian Flynn were placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 25. Duffy (left shoulder) has one more live batting practice session scheduled before beginning a rehab assignment. Flynn (sprained elbow ligament) is also throwing live batting practice but isn’t as far along as Duffy. “They’re both coming,” manager Ned Yost said. “I don’t know when.”
White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez starts Saturday when the series continues.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis goes for Kansas City in the second game of the season.