This marked the first, but likely won’t be the last for this talented, power-packed duo at the core of the White Sox rebuild.
“That is really good. It’s really cool,” Jimenez said. “That is the first for many to come.”
Five homers were hit in total by the end of the second inning, and Jimenez’s first career grand slam was the only homer not of the solo variety in that quintet. Jimenez connected off Royals starter Jakob Junis with Leury García, Tim Anderson and Moncada on base in the first inning for his 25th homer of the season.
Jimenez, who leads American League rookies in homers, has three home runs and 10 RBIs over his last 12 games. The slam was an opposite-field drive to right projected to travel 367 feet, per Statcast, with an exit velocity of 105.3 mph.
“It was really good, especially because it was the first inning. We were losing by one,” Jimenez said. “When you hit a grand slam for your team and for the pitcher, and you know you helped your team, that’s really good.”
“I think, ‘OK, they've given me the lead so now I have to do everything I can to protect it,’” starter Ivan Nova said of Jimenez’s homer. “These guys gave me the lead and now I have to do my job.”
Adalberto Mondesi went deep against Nova in the first, and Alex Gordon and Ryan O’Hearn knocked out back-to-back shots in the second. But Nova settled down to allow nothing more than those three runs over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and didn’t issue a walk.
According to White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing, Nova made a mechanics adjustment in-game to help him settle down. Bullpen coach and acting pitching coach Curt Hasler gave Nova the advice, but the right-hander smiled postgame and added he had heard the same thing from his other pitching coach, Reynaldo Lopez.
“My two pitching coaches came to me, telling me,” Nova said. “I was able to fix it and correct it during the game.”
“He did a great job to battle through that,” McEwing said. “He was missing a lot arm side early, and then getting back on the plate and missing over the plate early. And Has came to him, went to talk to him and figured out something mechanically in his delivery, and after that he was able to be his old Nova, getting ground balls and being able to get through it, and give us length to get to the bullpen, who did an outstanding job tonight.”
Adam Engel also homered for the White Sox on the first pitch of the second, driving it out to right-center. Moncada made it an even six for the series opener when he connected on a mammoth two-run shot to center in the seventh that traveled a projected 452 feet. Anderson finished 0-for-4, but he maintained his lead in the AL batting race with a .331 mark. Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who didn’t play against the Tigers on Tuesday, is second at .326.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria, who had surgery to repair his right rotator cuff on Friday but was back at work on Tuesday, returned to his ballpark office mid-game when his shoulder started hurting. But McEwing, who spoke to the media postgame, said Renteria is expected back on Wednesday.
Renteria will get to watch key pieces of the future do more damage in the present, as they did in the team’s second straight win.
“It's nice that they're going to be in the lineup, hopefully, for the next 10 years,” McEwing said.
“Let’s wait for that,” Jimenez said with a wry smile of the on-field trouble to be caused with Moncada. “It’s going to be fun.”