The nasty slider and pinpoint fastball command clearly are reasons the White Sox decided to sign Chris Sale to a long-term deal.

But an equally big factor, and it surfaced throughout Monday afternoon as Sale made his first Opening Day start, is the left-hander’s ability to combat emotion.

Although he spent a portion of the pregame festivities channeling his nervous energy, Sale found a way to harness his anxiety and deliver a gem as he led the White Sox to a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals in front of 39,012 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sale (1-0) struck out seven in 7 2/3 scoreless innings, Tyler Flowers hit a solo home run and Addison Reed closed it out as the White Sox won their opener for the 11th time in 17 years.

“He did a good job of keeping his emotions in check,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “ He was excited. I think it was what you expect, in a lot of ways, him going out and being effective and getting out of jams and things like that. But he’s a special kid.”

Sale didn’t wait long to establish again just how special he is.