KANSAS CITY, MO. – For one unsettling moment, it appeared Opening Day had taken a terrible turn for Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals.
Ventura crumpled to the ground in the seventh inning because of a cramp in his right thumb, ending a strong outing that helped the AL champion Royals rout the Chicago White Sox 10-1 on Monday.
"I felt the thumb lock up on me," Ventura said, with teammate Jeremy Guthrie translating. "My first thought, it was something really bad, but I'm really happy that it's not. I'm not concerned about it at all. It's just a cramp, though, but it surprised me."
Alex Rios had a three-run homer among his three hits in his Kansas City debut, and Ventura pitched six-plus solid innings. He went down after throwing a strike to Adam LaRoche and was replaced by Kelvin Herrera.
Ventura will be evaluated later this week, but Royals manager Ned Yost said he does not anticipate the righthander missing a start. Only days ago, Ventura agreed to a $23 million, five-year contract.
Rios homered in a five-run seventh with Kendrys Morales and Alex Gordon aboard. Gordon stroked a two-run single in the inning.
Jose Abreu homered in the seventh for Chicago.
White Sox righthander Jeff Samardzija, who did not allow a run in 15 innings during a pair of Opening Day starts with the Chicago Cubs the past two years, yielded five runs and six hits in six-plus innings.
After an exhilarating postseason run last year that ended with a Game 7 loss to San Francisco in the World Series, the Royals got off to a fast start in 2015. Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas, their first two hitters, went a combined 4-for-7 and scored five runs.