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Moncada homers, drives in 6 in win over A's

White Sox have back-to-back 5-run innings to give Rodon first win
June 24, 2018

CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada, the No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline for much of the 2017 season, turned in a performance during Sunday's 10-3 victory over Oakland most White Sox fans had been waiting for over the past month.The talented second baseman doubled home three and launched a three-run homer,

CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada, the No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline for much of the 2017 season, turned in a performance during Sunday's 10-3 victory over Oakland most White Sox fans had been waiting for over the past month.
The talented second baseman doubled home three and launched a three-run homer, setting a career high with six RBIs, after entering the contest with a .224 average and 26 RBIs in total. He had a .176 average over his last 30 games prior to Sunday's outburst, helping Carlos Rodon pick up his first victory since Aug. 21, 2017, over the Twins.
"Today was a great day," said Moncada through interpreter Billy Russo. "I just went out to play the game the way that I played. Just to have fun."
"He had some really good at-bats, obviously in big situations," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Drove the ball well. Again, you're going to see days like that. Hopefully, there's more days like that than not. Obviously, a little sign of what the young man can do."

Oakland actually held a 2-0 lead entering the fifth behind starting pitcher Paul Blackburn, and the White Sox had two outs and nobody on base in the fifth. Four outs later, and the White Sox had scored 10 straight runs over two straight five-run innings.
Moncada's first-pitch double with two outs in the fifth off of Blackburn cleared the bases. The rally began with singles from Omar Narvaez and Leury Garcia, and Adam Engel being hit by a pitch. The first-pitch swinging, at the right pitch, was something Moncada has been working on with hitting coach Todd Steverson.
"It was one of the key factors for today's game," Moncada said. "I've been working on that since I was in Triple-A. That's something that's in my game. It's just a matter to execute it more often. It was one of the main reasons I had the game that I had."
Moncada connected on a 3-1 pitch from Liam Hendriks in the sixth, with an exit velocity of 99.6 mph, according to Statcast™, for his first homer since June 12 vs. Cleveland.
Yolmer Sanchez and Daniel Palka also went deep for the White Sox, who earned a series split and finished a stretch of 21 games in 20 days with an 8-13 mark. Rodon allowed two runs in eight innings and 99 pitches, with three strikeouts and no walks. It was Rodon's fourth start this season but first where he pitched past seven, as he matched a career high with the eight innings pitched, done four times.

Rodon picked up his 400th career strikeout when fanning Khris Davis to open the second, recording 10 swinging strikes and 16 called strikes. He also pitched out of a second-and-third, nobody-out situation in the top of the fifth after Mark Canha homered for the 2-0 lead.
"There's times where you've got to find your extra fastball and get to guys," Rodon said. "We had a good play at third, we got that ground ball to third to Yolmer and Yolmer made a great play.
"We punched out Chad Pinder, and we had a good sequence to I think their best hitter, who is Jed Lowrie, and we got him to pop up. ... Getting out of that jam with the defense behind was great. Just had that inning to shut it down."
Every White Sox starter had at least one hit. Narvaez and Sanchez joined Moncada in the multihit group.
"Yeah, that was fun to watch. Our boys can swing it," Rodon said. "I knew they were getting to [Blackburn]. They can get to anyone in this league. Yoan had a good day, and defensively we played well and made a lot of plays out there today."

Quick Hook:Bruce Rondon walked Davis on four pitches to open the ninth, with the White Sox leading by eight runs. The White Sox reliever did not get a second hitter, removed by Renteria for Xavier Cedeno, but not before Renteria and Rondon had a brief but noticeable conversation.
"He threw the four balls and when I went out to talk to him I said, 'You know what? I don't see you right right now, and I'm just going to help you out.'" Renteria explained. "I wanted to make sure that there was nothing going on. He said the mound was a little funky. He wanted to stay in. He said, 'Let me keep working.' I said, 'No. You know what? Let me do this for you right now.'
"And that was it. I didn't want him to have any issues developing because of that hill. He wanted to stay in, but I just thought at that time it was something I had to do. This is a club that can do a lot of different things, and I was not going to let them have any window of opportunity to start opening it up, so we did what we did."
The White Sox homered three or more times in a game for the seventh time this season. They hit four home runs on May 26 at Detroit for the last time they accomplished such a feat.

Palka's first home run since June 3 vs. Milwaukee had an exit velocity of 115.2 mph.

"Every time you are passing through a rough moment, you have doubts. You have questions. But when you keep working hard, you can answer those questions. For me, that was it. I had a few moments with doubts and questions why things weren't going my way. But I keep trying. I'm just working hard and hopefully the good results are keeping for a long time." -- Moncada, on fighting through his struggles
After Monday's scheduled day off, the White Sox begin a three-game series with the Twins on Tuesday night with a first pitch of 7:10 p.m. CT at Guaranteed Rate Field. Reynaldo Lopez gets the call, carrying a 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA and .183 opponents average over six home starts this season. Lance Lynn will start for the Twins.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.