Yoan Moncada is having a tough June. Before tonight’s contest, Moncada was hitting 9-for-46 with just a home run and an ugly strikeout to walk rate of 17 to 2. It looked like Moncada was pressing in Boston and last night went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to start the series against Cleveland. Perhaps tonight would have been good for Moncada take the day off to help clear his mind.
Manager Rick Renteria had other thoughts by penciling Moncada at lead-off again tonight, and that move paid off as the young second baseman started the evening with a bang. Leading the White Sox to a 5-1 win over the Indians.
Last time against Indians starter Adam Plutko on May 28th, the White Sox had quite a bit of success. In five innings, the Sox scored five times against the 26-year old righty but ultimately lost because of incredibly weak defense. Again, the Sox jumped all over Plutko in the first inning. Moncada lead off the game by taking Plutko’s fastball to deep center field for his ninth homer of 2018. On the very next pitch, Yolmer Sanchez matched Moncada’s might with a blast himself to put up back-to-back jacks and the Sox were up 2-0 quickly.
Rally continued after Daniel Palka walked with one out. At the plate was Matt Davidson who hasn’t been good against teams not named “Kansas City.” Just like Sanchez, Davidson jumped on Plutko’s first-pitch fastball for a double to deep center. Palka scored all the way from first base, and the Sox had a comfortable 3-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Palka and Davidson repeated their first inning efforts. Palka was again taking a walk on a full count, and Davidson smacked a double off the wall in center for his second RBI of the night and extending the lead to 4-0. After a mound visit, Omar Narvaez decided that going after the first pitch was a good idea, and he was right by hitting a double in the alley in right field plating Davidson for a 5-0 lead.
That was more than enough support for James Shields who kept the Indians offense off-balance. Even though he hit Francisco Lindor with the first pitch, and the Indians shortstop went 2-for-3 on the night, Cleveland couldn’t muster good contact against the crafty Shields. Making his way through seven innings, Shields only allowed four hits, one earned run, while striking out two and walking none. He received the win which is his first since Opening Day and lowered his season ERA to 4.63.
Jace Fry took over in the eighth inning and continued to show dominance striking out two in a scoreless frame. In the ninth, it got a bit rocky. Nate Jones was first to try and close the door but instead invited company onto the base paths by giving up a double to Jose Ramirez and walking Yonder Alonso. With one out and Jason Kipnis coming to the plate, Renteria swapped Jones for Xavier Cedeno. The veteran lefty continued his flawless ways of striking out Kipnis for the second out. Rather have Cedeno stay in to get Yan Gomes out, Renteria made a third pitching change by calling for Joakim Soria.
For a moment, that looked to be a mistake as Gomes hit a deep fly to center, but Adam Engel stayed with the route all the way and made a nice grab at the wall. Ending the game, and by only throwing three pitches, Soria earned his ninth save and boosted that trade value.
The White Sox victory improves their June record to 7-5 and 14-16 in the past 30 games.
Record: 23-42 | Box Score