OAKLAND -- No need to worry -- it looks like Yoan Moncada is back.After a weeks-long slump to begin the 2018 campaign, the tools that once made Moncada the No. 1 prospect in baseball were on full display on Wednesday. The 22-year-old hit his first career grand slam for his
OAKLAND -- No need to worry -- it looks like Yoan Moncada is back.
After a weeks-long slump to begin the 2018 campaign, the tools that once made Moncada the No. 1 prospect in baseball were on full display on Wednesday. The 22-year-old hit his first career grand slam for his second homer in as many days, reached base three times for the second consecutive day and added two sparkling defensive plays in the White Sox 12-11 loss to the A's in 14 innings.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Moncada's blast came on a 1-0 fastball off A's right-hander Andrew Triggs and traveled a Statcast-estimated 395 feet with an exit velocity of 109 mph. The slam punctuated a five-run second inning for the struggling White Sox offense, which had entered the game 5-for-62 (.081) with runners in scoring position in its last eight games. He had also hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning on Tuesday to account for Chicago's only runs.
"I just went into the at-bat with a goal in my mind just to hit the ball hard," Moncada said through an interpreter. "I wasn't expecting any pitch -- I just went into it with the idea to hit the ball hard."
For the third straight game, Moncada gave the Sox an early opportunity to break through when he singled to lead off the contest and stole second. He moved to third on a flyout to right, and Chicago was finally able to cash in, as Moncada scored on Nicky Delmonico's two-out single. It was Chicago's first run-scoring hit with a man in scoring position since April 10.
Entering Tuesday, Moncada had been 1-for-11 with eight strikeouts in the three previous games and was slashing .192/.300/.308 on the season.
"It was good for us as a team, because with the hit, we scored first," Moncada said. "We were able to get the chance to command the game, and as a team, that's what you want."
Moncada also made his impact felt on defense, flashing the leather in a critical situation in the ninth that saved the game for the White Sox. With the game tied, 11-11, and the bases loaded for the A's, Chad Pinder hit a sharp ground ball toward the hole between first and second. Moncada ranged to his left, dove for the ball, and fired to first for the out, preserving the tie and sending the game to extra innings.
"When I saw the ground ball coming to my field, I said, 'OK, I have to stop it,'" Moncada said. "So I ran as hard as I could, and I was able to cut the ball off and make the play. The difference between that moment and the home run was that the home run was just focusing on hitting the ball hard. [The grand slam] wasn't a do-or-die situation like it was in the ninth inning."
One inning later, Moncada showed off his range when he covered a Statcast-estimated 89 feet to make an over-the-shoulder catch sprinting away from the infield on a popup hit into shallow right field by Jed Lowrie.
Do-Hyoung Park is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.