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Moncada's return includes 'trip' around the bases

White Sox slugger hits 21st homer, then falls during later at-bat
@scottmerkin
August 23, 2019

CHICAGO -- Focusing on Yoán Moncada's two hits, including his 21st home run, in the White Sox 6-1 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night at Guaranteed Rate seems almost unnecessary. During Moncada’s breakout campaign this season, line drives clearing the right-field fence with a 112 mph exit velocity, per

CHICAGO -- Focusing on Yoán Moncada's two hits, including his 21st home run, in the White Sox 6-1 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night at Guaranteed Rate seems almost unnecessary.

During Moncada’s breakout campaign this season, line drives clearing the right-field fence with a 112 mph exit velocity, per Statcast, and another double for good measure have been more common than not. Let’s instead take a look at Moncada’s at-bat in the seventh.

The third baseman hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield against Rangers starter Ariel Jurado, tripped, and then Moncada fell on his face as he was coming out of the batter’s box. There was no humor in this moment, at first, considering Moncada had just returned from an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte for a strained right hamstring that put him on the injured list retroactive to July 31.

Box score

White Sox manager Rick Renteria admitted his heart actually skipped not one, but two beats, when he saw Moncada on the ground. But once Renteria ran out to check on him, the worry turned into a lot of smiles.

“I said, ‘You are a little embarrassed right now aren’t you?’ He said, ‘No it’s my knee,’” Renteria said. “I said, ‘You are embarrassed.” And he started smiling. That’s all it was. He was fine.”

“When I ended the swing with my bat, it went into my legs and I fell,” Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. “Everything's good. I have a scratch on my knee, but it's OK.”

James McCann homered behind Moncada during a four-run third, as the White Sox went back-to-back for the fifth time this season. José Abreu singled and drove home a run with a sacrifice fly, giving him 998 career hits and 97 RBIs this season.

All of this support made a winner of starter Ross Detwiler, who turned in his best effort as part of the White Sox. The southpaw logged a career-high eight strikeouts, allowing one run on three hits over six innings. He put forth the 90-pitch effort after throwing 49 pitches in relief against the Angels on Sunday.

“I'd like to have a routine, I guess I don't really need it. But I like to have a routine, like to have everything in order,” said Detwiler, who joked he had no idea about the career high in strikeouts and didn’t think he fanned that many. “If you're out of the bullpen, you don't really have sidelines between starts.

“But it is what is. Whenever they hand you the ball, you need to go out there and do your best.”

So, there was plenty for the White Sox to be excited about as they won their second straight and third in four games. Their offense is averaging 5.8 runs per contest over the last 10 and the starting rotation has a 2.91 ERA since Aug. 7, which is the best mark in the American League.

Then there’s Moncada, who drove in two runs from the cleanup spot in his triumphant return. But it’s difficult to get around his unintentional prat fall at the end.

As Moncada was talking postgame to the media, Abreu and Eloy Jimenez were giving him grief from both sides.

“The leg’s not good,” said Abreu, inducing much laughter.

“They've been all over me about that,” Moncada said. “They say I have weak legs and I need to do more work in the gym.”

Moncada added he felt good at the plate, before the interview ended amidst the teasing.

“Atta boy,” Abreu added.

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