KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada used a bat red-hot Jose Abreu gave to him in batting practice and produced the first three-hit game of his career.
The rookie tripled and singled twice in six trips as the White Sox trounced the Kansas City Royals 11-3 at Kauffman Stadium. Moncada also nearly drew a walk but didn’t get the benefit of the doubt from plate ump Ryan Blakney in a fourth-inning strikeout.
Moncada attributed part of his performance to feeling loose after talking to Abreu, who nearly had his second cycle in three days. Abreu finished a homer shy of the feat.
“When you are around a guy like him you feel confident because he will always be there for advice,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I felt very confident and loose today. I don't know why, but he made an order of bats for me and I was swinging those bats today. It was the bat I used during the game and I felt really good. Just little things like that he does for us has a good impact on us.”
Moncada’s big night started early when he ripped an RBI triple down the right-field line in the first inning to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. The three-bagger came off a Jason Hammel slider and exited Moncada’s bat at 109 mph.
Moncada carried a .143 average on sliders into the at-bat.
An inning later, Moncada lined a Hammel fastball the opposite way for an RBI single to left.
The second baseman then completed his night with a single off a left-handed pitcher, a liner to right. Moncada brought a .159 average with a .518 OPS into the at-bat lefty Ryan Butcher.
“We’ve talked about Moncada’s trying to do some hitting with offspeed pitches, secondary pitches,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Today he did that. Couple of knocks from both sides of the plate.”
Moncada has impressed the White Sox with the way he’s stuck to his patient approach throughout his first seven weeks with them. All parties feel that if Moncada sticks with his approach he’ll produce more consistently.
Perhaps all he needs is for Abreu to stay hot. Moncada has enjoyed Abreu’s hot streak over the last month. He was rooting for the slugger to complete his second cycle with a homer — Abreu drew a walk in the ninth.
Moncada also played a part in making sure Abreu had the chance to accomplish the feat again. Had he not beat out a potential double play ball, Abreu wouldn’t have hit.
That was probably a good thing for Moncada from a trash talking standpoint.
“He would have made a lot of fun of me,” Moncada said. “I told him before the game I would get on base every time for him to drive me in. He did it a few times and that was good.”
Moncada wasn’t the only White Sox rookie to star on Monday. Reynaldo Lopez earned his first White Sox victory with six-plus innings pitched (three earned runs). Center fielder Adam Engel also went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and a hit by pitch.