KANSAS CITY, Mo. — How’s that for a start?
For openers, the White Sox and Matt Davidson put on a stunning display of home run power Thursday, one never seen in the history of the American League on Opening Day.
In their six-home run record-setting 14-7 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, Davidson became the fourth player to belt three homers on Opening Day, joining the Tigers’ Dmitri Young (2005), the Cubs’ Tuffy Rhodes (1994) and the Blue Jays’ George Bell (1988).
Shortstop Tim Anderson hit two homers for his first multi-homer game and first baseman Jose Abreu connected for the 125th of his career. Davidson, batting fourth at designated hitter, followed Abreu’s in the fourth.
Added up that tied the 1988 New York Mets record for homers on the first day of the season. (Lenny Dykstra and Kevin Elster hit one each and left fielder Kevin McReynolds and Darryl Strawberry each hit two apiece.)
For Davidson, his was a performance that left his palms red from high fives and ushered him to a phone at his locker chock full with congratulatory text messages.
“From everybody, really,’’ said Davidson, whose bombs measured 435, 426 and 376 feet in the fourth fifth and eighth innings with exit velocities of 115.1 mph, 114.0 mph and 113.9 mph, according to Statcast. “Everybody who has helped me out through my career, all my family. There have been a lot of people who got me to this spot.’’
Davidson struggled mightily in the minors before stepping up with 26 homers as a rookie in 2017. At spring training three weeks ago, Paul Konerko said 40 homers and an All-Star Game appearance would be in reach for the 27-year-old. That high praise raised an eyebrow or two, but no one was quibbling about them Thursday.
“When you’re hitting the ball like that, everything is in sync, everything is in place,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s not trying to do too much, just taking advantage of his strength.’’
Davidson’s performance demanded the spotlight, but he didn’t hog it. According to STATS Inc., his and Anderson’s multi-homer efforts marked the fifth and sixth times a Sox player has hit two or more homers on Opening Day, joining the company of Minnie Minoso in 1960, Sammy Sosa in 1991, Jim Thome in 2008 and Alejandro De Aza in 2014.
There is some history in that list alone.
The Sox as a team also joined select company. The previous club record for first-day homers was three, which they matched in the fourth inning alone when Abreu, Davidson and Anderson went deep against left-hander Danny Duffy, helping them erase a 4-0 deficit.
Davidson, who struck out 165 times last season while walking only 19 times, was a stoic picture of level-headedness citing his walk as a big moment because he wants to be more than just a home run guy.
“Yeah, it really hasn’t set in yet,” he said. “It’s a great start, and I just want to keep it going.’’
So do the rebuilding Sox, who aren’t expected to win this season but think they can prove doubters wrong.
“We’re really good,’’ Davidson said. “It’s just going to come down the consistency of our play.’’