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White Sox jump on rare Moustakas error in win over Royals

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White Sox jump on rare Moustakas error in win over Royals

It’s the kind of play the White Sox probably expected Mike Moustakas to make, given how many hits the slick-fielding Kansas City third baseman has taken away in the past.

But Moustakas couldn’t cleanly glove Jose Abreu’s chopper in the bottom of the sixth inning, and all of a sudden, a previously-listless offense had a rally going.

The White Sox went on to score five times in the bottom of the sixth to blow past Kansas City for a 5-3 win Sunday afternoon in front of 23,317 at U.S. Cellular Field. Had Moustakas cleanly fielded the ball — center fielder Adam Eaton, who was on third at the time, cautioned that it wasn’t an easy play — he probably would’ve turned an inning-ending double play to keep the Royals ahead by a 3-0 score.

“When there’s a mistake being made or maybe a close play that’s not made, you have to pounce on that,” Eaton said. “If you’re going to be a good team you have to do that.”

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That’s exactly what the White Sox did, as after Eaton scored on the error Adam LaRoche flipped Edinson Volquez’s two-strike curveball into center for an RBI single. Avisail Garcia loaded the bases with a line drive single to center and, following Alexei Ramirez's strikeout, Conor Gillaspie lined a low fastball into right for a go-ahead two-run single. Flowers tacked on the fifth run with an RBI single to right.

For an inning that opened with an outstanding defensive play — Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon leapt over the short wall down the left field line to catch Micah Johnson’s foul ball, inadvertently body-slamming an unsuspecting fan in the process — the White Sox did well to come back and secure a series victory over the defending American League champs.

“Their whole defense doesn't give many opportunities,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I think you even saw what Gordon was doing in left field, he made some great plays on us. You have to take advantage of it when you get a chance like that. It was a great little run right there for our offense in coming back.

“Volquez was throwing great. He was tough and you know the shadows are coming eventually so it was nice to push those across. Big at-bats by Conor there and (Flowers) to get an extra one. It was a nice job by the offense to just really keep it going.”

The sixth-inning rally made sure John Danks’ second consecutive quality start wasn’t wasted, as the left-hander fired six innings of three-run ball with eight strikeouts. Jake Petricka, Zach Duke and David Robertson combined to throw three scoreless innings to nail down the victory, with Robertson notching a save about three and a half hours after he earned the win in the continuation of Friday’s suspended game.

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Winning both games on Sunday was a nice mental jolt for the White Sox after they’d been beat up — literally and figuratively — by Kansas City in their first four meetings of the season. Eaton admitted that if the Royals came into Chicago and swept this series there probably would’ve been a mental block the next time they played them, even if that’s not until mid-July.

“Against a team that's already played you tough, you have to be able to withstand it and keep going and stick together,” Ventura said. “These guys are definitely doing it.”

This week’s upcoming seven-game road trip to Baltimore and Minnesota should provide a better indication of whether the White Sox have righted the ship after that 0-4 start, though the club has won three of its last five series (including a two-game split in Cleveland).

But whether it was Gillaspie ripping that go-ahead single or Melky Cabrera making a fantastic leaping catch to take away an RBI in the eighth, the White Sox can see themselves establishing the kind of identity they expected to have at the beginning of the season.

“Over the last five or six games we’ve played a really good brand of baseball,” Duke said. “Early on you are kind of trying to feel each other out and see how you are going to figure out to win games. I feel like we are starting to do that and playing our style.”



After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

The young players that figure to feature heavily in the future of the White Sox have had quite a week.

It started with Lucas Giolito being the first pitcher in the majors to reach 10 wins, then Eloy Jimenez blasted a big go-ahead home run in the ninth inning in his first crosstown game against the Cubs. Now, Zack Collins has added his own blast of optimism to the White Sox young core.

The 24-year-old made his first major league start on Friday in Texas and delivered a three-run home run in his first at-bat. It was his second MLB plate appearance after he drew a pinch-hit walk Wednesday in Wrigley.

After the White Sox beat the Rangers 5-4 in 10 innings, Collins talked to Jason Benetti and Steve Stone on the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast.

“Honestly I was just in shock,” Collins said. “I was running around the bases. It seemed like it lasted like three seconds and I felt myself sprinting around second so I had to slow it down and enjoy the moment, but it was an awesome time.”

Collins finished 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, but that is Collins’ game. He’s going to strikeout a lot and his batting average probably won’t be pretty. He has a career .234 batting average in the minors (.250 in Triple-A Charlotte this year), but he coupled that with a .378 on-base percentage and big power.

In his five trips to the plate on Friday, Collins saw 22 pitches. He’s going to work the count and sometimes he’s going to run into home runs.

“It was smooth,” Collins said. “I just kind of put the ball in play and the ball flew. I really don’t know. It was kind of a blur to me. It was obviously a big moment for me.”

Collins was called up Tuesday morning ahead of the first game against the Cubs. He didn’t play that game, but the pinch-hit walk on Wednesday helped take out some of the nerves.

“On Wednesday night I stepped up, I had a little bit of jitters, had a little bit of butterflies and stuff, but I think that was the point of getting in there on Wednesday and getting all that out,” Collins said. “It felt good tonight.”

Collins still hasn’t played catcher since he got called up. He was the DH in Friday’s lineup. That didn’t stop his dad from being excited about his first start.

“I was pumped,” Collins said of when he saw he was in the lineup. “I immediately texted my dad and told him I was in there. He told me good luck, play hard, do your thing. Obviously it started off well and we got a big win tonight so it was fun.”

As of the postgame interview, Collins didn’t yet have his home run ball. However, it sounded like he was able to make a deal with a fan for it.

“Somebody said they did get the ball,” Collins said. “I think I have to make a little trade with somebody.”

 

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WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

Zack Collins started his MLB career in fitting fashion, with a walk.

In his next trip to the plate, he hit a home run.

Collins came on as a pinch-hitter Wednesday at the Cubs and drew that walk. Friday's game at Texas was his first start. The 2016 first-round pick entered the lineup as a DH and batted eighth.

He came up with two on and two out against Rangers starter Ariel Jurado. Collins, as he is known for, took the first three pitches before fouling off a curve on a 2-1 count. Then he took a slider deep to right-center.

Watch Collins' home run in the video above.

Collins is known for three things as a hitter: home runs, walks and strikeouts. Before getting called up from Triple-A Charlotte, Collins was hitting .250/.374/.482. He had nine home runs in 50 games with 36 walks and 66 strikeouts. He was sixth in the International League in walks while playing fewer games due to splitting time at catcher.

In a very short time period, Collins is showing what the White Sox thought they were getting when they drafted him 10th overall in 2016.

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