The White Sox look to win their fifth straight at home over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night when the clubs continue a three-game series.
The veteran slugger hit career home run No. 542 in a 4-2 win over the Royals on Tuesday in the season opener, which had been delayed a day because of a forecast of bad weather. The White Sox trailed 2-1 before Thome’s three-run shot off reliever Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth.
“Opening day, there’s a lot of emotions,” said the 38-year-old Thome, who went 3-for-4 and scored twice. “No matter how long you’ve played the game, you still get jittery, you still get that nervous excitement.”
Since joining the White Sox in 2006, Thome has been one of their hottest hitters during the early going, batting .286 with 22 home runs in the first month.
Farnsworth’s bad pitch to Thome ruined what had looked to be a solid start for the Royals. They received a stellar outing from Gil Meche, who allowed one run and seven hits while striking out six over seven innings, and Alex Gordon had given them the lead in the fifth inning after grounding into a fielder’s choice that scored Jose Guillen. Gordon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft, also homered in the second inning.
“We just fell short today,” Meche said. “Get them tomorrow and try to win the series hopefully.”
Looking to win their season-opening series for the first time since 2005, the White Sox will hand the ball to Gavin Floyd (17-8, 3.84 ERA), who led them in victories in 2008.
Floyd came into last year having won eight games over 40 major league appearances - 29 starts. He was rewarded for his breakout season with a four-year, $15.5 million contract in March.
Floyd is 1-3 with a 3.62 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance against the Royals. The 26-year-old right-hander was 10-3 at home last season, including 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Kansas City. Chicago went 14-3 in his starts at U.S. Cellular Field in 2008.
Kansas City will counter with Zack Greinke (13-10, 3.47), who the Royals hope will get on track after going 3-3 with a 9.21 ERA in spring training.
“I think he’s in good shape, I really do,” manager Trey Hillman told Major League Baseball’s official Web site. “I’m confident that he’s where he needs to be even though his overall numbers weren’t as great as we’d like to see.”
Greinke is 3-8 with a 4.94 ERA in 14 starts and three relief appearances against the White Sox, including 1-2 with a 7.25 ERA in four starts last season. He is 0-6 with a 8.91 ERA in six starts in Chicago.
Dye is 12-for-33 (.364) with three homers, three doubles and eight RBIs off Greinke. Thome is 5-for-17 (.294) with two homers against the right-hander.