Moncada, White Sox win home opener, beat messy Mariners
CHICAGO (AP) — Yoan Moncada has a more aggressive approach at the plate, a new position in the field and a strong belief that games like this are going to be the norm for him.
A day after their home opener was postponed because of inclement weather, the White Sox ended Seattle’s four-game winning streak. The Mariners had been off to a franchise-best 7-1 start.
Chicago took advantage of three errors by shortstop Tim Beckham in the first inning for an early lead, then rallied when the Seattle bullpen couldn’t find the strike zone. The White Sox drew three walks in the seventh, with Moncada’s single off Zac Rosscup making it 9-8 after Cory Gearrin (0-1) hit Welington Castillo with the bases loaded.
Moncada, batting .458 with 10 RBIs through six games, just missed a grand slam in the first when he lined a two-run double against Yusei Kikuchi that deflected off a leaping center fielder Mallex Smith’s glove.
“Days like today are going to come in a bunch this season,” he said through a translator.
The White Sox are counting on that from the 23-year-old Moncada in his second full season. A key piece in the deal that sent ace Chris Sale to Boston at the 2016 winter meetings, he led the majors in strikeouts and committed more errors than any other second baseman last season.
But he adjusted his approach at the plate, switched to third base. And he is looking like a different player in the early going.
Tim Anderson added three hits, including a solo homer in the eighth. He scored four runs and drove in three after missing two games to be with wife Bria for the birth of their second child, daughter Paxton.
Ryan Burr (1-0) worked a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in relief. Alex Colome retired all three batters in the ninth for his second save in as many opportunities, and Chicago overcame a shaky start by Reynaldo Lopez to win for the third time in four games.
“We got a lot of gamers on the team, man, and even though we lost that game we showed a lot of fight and it shows a lot about our team,” Beckham said.
Kikuchi gave up six runs — four earned — and seven hits over five innings in his first start since his father died of cancer over the weekend.
Lopez allowed six runs and six hits. Healy chased him with a tying, two-run drive to the left-field bullpen in the sixth after Omar Narvaez led off with a single. Jace Fry retired the next two batters before Smith singled and Haniger drove a two-run shot to center.
JIMENEZ AT HOME
Eloy Jimenez acknowledged he felt some pressure after going 0 for 4 in his first game in Chicago. But the White Sox’s prized prospect also enjoyed the moment.
“I tried having fun,” said Jimenez, whose parents were at the game. “Especially (since) it was a tough day. I tried to not think about it and just enjoy the moment and be playing with the fans.”
“A lot of exciting things happened. I’m a dad. I had a good game today. Special week for me.” — Anderson.
Mariners: Manager Scott Servais said INF/DH Edwin Encarnacion (left hand) was feeling “a lot better” and was available to pinch hit after being scratched from the lineup against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. The Mariners opted to keep Encarnacion out of the lineup for the second straight game because of the chilly conditions in Chicago. … Servais wasn’t sure if 2B Dee Gordon (tight groin) will be available Saturday after exiting this game in the fourth inning.
White Sox: OF Jon Jay (strained right hip) had no timetable for his return from the injured list, though he said he is getting better. He also said the problem sidelined him last month is more in the groin area.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (1-0, 3.00 ERA) struck out seven and scattered seven hits over six solid innings in a win against Boston on Saturday.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (1-0, 2.70) looks to build on a solid start against Kansas City, taking a no-hitter to the seventh inning. He was 10-13 with a major league-worst 6.13 ERA in 32 starts last season.