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Moncada leads 4-HR outburst to beat Indians

Lopez allows 2 hits over 7 2/3 stellar innings
@scottmerkin
May 14, 2019

CHICAGO -- Yoán Moncada had as many home runs as the Indians had hits during the White Sox 5-2 victory on Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field to begin a six-game homestand for the South Siders. That number for the White Sox third baseman and the light-hitting Cleveland offense was

CHICAGO -- Yoán Moncada had as many home runs as the Indians had hits during the White Sox 5-2 victory on Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field to begin a six-game homestand for the South Siders.

That number for the White Sox third baseman and the light-hitting Cleveland offense was two, which was a good sign for Moncada and White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez. May had not been particularly kind to Moncada, as he carried a .200 average over his last 13 games with one home run and 20 strikeouts entering Monday.

Box score

But in this resurgent 2019 campaign for the talented switch-hitter, Moncada has kept those rough patches to a minimum. He reinforced that with two solo homers off Indians starter Shane Bieber, adding a third hit with a single in the eighth inning to finish 3-for-4.

“I’ve been learning a lot,” Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. “Especially at this level, you need to make adjustments very quick because every day counts, and even though it’s a long season, you don’t want to waste any time.”

After striking out in the first inning, Moncada ripped a home run down the right-field line on a 1-2 pitch in the third. His eighth long ball came with a 110.7 mph exit velocity and a .990 expected batting average, according to Statcast. He then connected to left field leading off the sixth inning for his ninth, giving him 28 RBIs on the season.

When asked postgame if pulling a home run and hitting one to the opposite field was a good sign of being locked in, Moncada searched momentarily for the right words, smiled and simply said, “Yes.”

White Sox manager Rick Renteria indicated the whole team was a bit tired after playing on the field turf in Toronto this past weekend. He made an initial point of mentioning Moncada’s fatigue, with Moncada joining Jose Abreu as the only two White Sox players to feature in all 40 games this season, adding Moncada had a little motivation on Monday which Renteria chose not to share. The young third baseman stayed quiet on that same topic of motivation.

“I’ve just been feeling a little tired. But it’s nothing. I’m just 23 years old. I can play. It’s nothing,” Moncada said. “Today, I was a little patient or passive with my body, but my mind was aggressive. I kept my mind aggressive. That was the key.”

Bieber allowed four solo homers, with Abreu and Welington Castillo hitting Chicago’s first two home runs of the game. The first three homers came in the first three innings, all of which saw Bieber quickly retire the first two hitters. Abreu became the first White Sox player to reach 10 homers on the season.

Lopez earned the victory by no-hitting eight spots in the Cleveland lineup; he gave up two hits to leadoff hitter Francisco Lindor, who homered to open the game. The Indians didn’t register another hit until the sixth inning. Lopez fanned six and walked two over 7 2/3 innings, throwing 103 pitches and watching his night end on a nice running catch by Charlie Tilson on Kevin Plawecki’s drive to left-center. He allowed two runs (one earned).

Renteria’s club has won three straight, moved within two games of .500 at 19-21 and into third place in the American League Central, two games behind Cleveland. The White Sox found the right combination of Moncada’s second career multi-homer effort and Lopez’s dominance to end a three-game home losing streak.

“I feel good today. I’ve had good outings, but today’s was probably the best of the season,” said Lopez through Russo. “All my pitches were sharp, I was using a very good arm angle, I was throwing strikes. I was using my legs much better today, too. All those factors helped me have a good outing.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.