Moose strokes first HR to opposite field

Spring work pays dividends in season opener

Moose strokes first HR to opposite field

KANSAS CITY -- All spring, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas worked diligently on trying to power the ball the opposite way in an effort to beat the opponents' shift that crippled his 2014 regular season.

That work already is paying off.

Moustakas not only went the other way offensively, but he powered a Jeff Samardzija pitch over the left-center-field wall in the fifth inning of the Royals' 10-1 win over the White Sox on Monday.

It was Moustakas' first home run to the opposite field in the Major Leagues -- this is fifth Major League season.

"That's probably right," Moustakas said. "I know I hit some the other way in the Minors. But it felt pretty good. I didn't know it was out, but was happy when it did."

Moustakas also seemed to embrace his new role as the No. 2 hitter.

"I'm more than liking it," he said, smiling.

Moustakas hit a sacrifice bunt that led to a run, homered, walked and scored, and singled on a swinging bunt -- a full day's work.

"It's like every at-bat was a different situation, and that's what you have to do hitting second," Moustakas said. "I like the challenge. And whatever I can do to help the team I will."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.