Yoan Moncada’s first hit with White Sox: A bases-loaded triple
Photos from the White Sox-Royals game on Friday, July 21, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo.
Yoan Moncada slid head-first into third base, stood up and clapped his hands at the White Sox dugout Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The 22-year-old second baseman’s first hit in a Sox uniform was a memorable one in a game with the Royals.
Moncada stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning. He fell behind in the count 0-2 against Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy. But he hit the third pitch to left field for a three-run triple and a 5-1 Sox lead.
Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia singled and Matt Davidson walked to set up the big moment.
Before the hit, he recorded his first Sox RBI in the second inning. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Moncada grounded out to first base to allow a run to score.
Moncada made his Sox debut Wednesday and was 0-for-2 with a walk, but Abreu said he was "perfect" in his first game at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"It’s a process for him too, and we all know he has to go step by step," the Sox first baseman said through a team interpreter. "All the people that are around him can help him and guide him through that process. But so far he has been great."
But Sox right-hander James Shields couldn’t hold the early lead, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings.
The Royals scored three in the fourth on Mike Moustakas’ home run and Whit Merrifield’s two-run double. Alex Gordon’s two-run double in the fifth tied the game at 6-6 and ended Shields’ night.
Shields, who was making his first start in Kansas City since he pitched for the Royals in 2013-14, has allowed 16 earned runs over his last three starts.
Juggling act: With Moncada joining the Sox as their starting second baseman, Sox manager Rick Renteria said he still will find ways to give playing time to the other infielders — Yolmer Sanchez, Tyler Saladino and Alen Hanson.
Sanchez started the two games since Moncada was called up at designated hitter, and Renteria said he expected to mix up the lineup this weekend.
"I know I was always told this as a player: ‘If I give you one opportunity, you have to be ready for that shot and take advantage of it,’" Renteria said. "In this instance we’re going to try to balance it out and give them more than one opportunity."
Unlikely matchup: Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana is scheduled to pitch Sunday and not in the four-game city series between the Sox and Cubs that opens Monday at Wrigley Field. That’s a disappointment to Abreu, who wanted to face his former teammate less than two weeks after he was traded.
"Those are the kind of things you like, to face the best in baseball," Abreu said. "I wish him the best, but I would like to face him."