CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito, two of the key cogs in the White Sox rebuild, had far from perfect pre-All-Star break results, much like the White Sox as a whole.But the White Sox future looked pretty darn good in the present Sunday afternoon during a 10-1 victory over
CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito, two of the key cogs in the White Sox rebuild, had far from perfect pre-All-Star break results, much like the White Sox as a whole.
But the White Sox future looked pretty darn good in the present Sunday afternoon during a 10-1 victory over the Royals. That victory took the South Siders into the All-Star break with their first series win since June 26-28 at home against the Twins.
"Today was one of those days where we put it all together," said Giolito, who improved to 6-8 with Sunday's victory. "I'm looking forward to more of those."
"It wasn't a very good first half in wins and losses, but I think that's part of the process," Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. "We're all trying to do our best. We improved during the first half, and I think in the second half we'll be much better."
Moncada is hitting .356 with four multi-hit efforts over his last 12 games. He fell a triple short of the cycle and reached base four times Sunday, meaning he reached base nine times over three games against the Royals this past weekend.
Moncada's solo home run against Enny Romero leading off the fifth started a five-run frame, and also marked his first hitting right-handed this season.
"I think it gives me a little more confidence. It's something good," said Moncada, who left early Saturday after being hit on the right knee by a Reynaldo Lopez pickoff throw. "That's just a part of all the work I put into trying to get better, to improve and become a better player.''
Giolito started out slow on the mound, needing 30 pitches to get through the first. But he adjusted quickly, allowing one hit over the next 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three without allowing a run, following a three-hit performance over 7 1/3 innings in his previous start against the Astros.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria basically chopped Giolito's first half into two halves, pointing out it took him maybe an inning or an inning-plus to find the groove as he improved, as opposed to three or four innings during earlier struggles.
"First quarter of the season I guess, you could say I was kind of searching for things," said Giolito, who leads the American League with 60 walks. "I wasn't really throwing strikes, especially with my off-speed pitches. I was going out there throwing pretty much all heaters whereas now, I can find that rhythm, and if I do misfire a couple pitches in the same at-bat, I make the adjustment a lot better. It's just overall a lot better experience.
"To be walking that many batters and not doing a good job of putting my team in winning positions, it definitely weighed on me. ... Over the course of the first half, it's gotten better and better and better, so I'm just looking forward to the second half now."
Daniel Palka chipped in three hits, including a home run with a 114-mph exit velocity, per Statcast™, in the first. Everyone in the lineup but Adam Engel reached base at least once, and everyone but Engel and AL All-Star Jose Abreu had at least one hit during the team's third win in four games.
"I wouldn't say that the first half was bad because it's just a part of the process," said Abreu through Russo. "We have a lot of young players here with a lot of talent, and they need to learn, they need to improve, they need to show what they are capable of. I think in the first half, we did a little bit of that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hard-earned escape: Sunday's game might have looked a little bit different if Giolito didn't escape the first unscathed. Jorge Bonifacio was thrown out at the plate by a good distance on Salvador Perez's single to left, grabbed by Palka on the short hop and then relayed to third baseman Yolmer Sanchez. And with two runners on and two outs, Lucas Duda took a borderline 3-2 pitch for a called third strike.
"You don't see that very often, quite honestly," Renteria said. "Palky does a great job of smothering the ball in right, keeping it in front of him. Makes a nice relay throw to Sanchy, and Sanchy gets it to the plate and it evolved into Bonifacio not having a chance. They did everything right."
Tim Anderson was 1-for-18 with five RBIs lifetime hitting with the bases loaded prior to his two-out, two-run double in the fifth.
WORLD CUP SALUTE
Abreu was the happiest player in the White Sox clubhouse over France's World Cup title win.
"I really like that team," Abreu said. "I still remember the first time that they won a World Cup. It was in '98 in France. I remember that team. It was a special moment. They won the championship on a Sunday, too. I remember that moment, and today's game for them was very special. I'm really happy for them."
Meanwhile, the White Sox players had a little fun with Moncada by taping "Neymar" over his nameplate. It was in humorous reference to Moncada's pronounced injury reaction Saturday, similar to Neymar's dives when he gets hit, although he returned with authority Sunday.
HE SAID IT
"Our mindset has to be: just improve. Be better. Be better and keep working. Come here every day to do our best." -- Abreu, on the team's second-half focus
The White Sox begin post All-Star break action with a seven-game West Coast trip. It starts Friday night in Seattle with a 9:10 p.m. CT first pitch. Abreu, who will be coming off his second All-Star appearance, leads the Sox against Wade LeBlanc and the Mariners.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.