Moncada, Garcia enjoy career games in White Sox’ rout of Tigers
DETROIT — Sitting at his locker after the White Sox’ 17-7 rout Thursday of the Tigers, a smiling Jose Abreu raised his arms and yelled in triumph when fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada was asked about the bats.
Moncada’s six-game hitting streak, which peaked with four hits — including a home run — two walks and a franchise-record-tying five runs scored Thursday, has run almost parallel to his using the lighter bats Abreu ordered for him.
Abreu had four hits for the major-league-leading seventh time this season, but he was overshadowed not only by Moncada’s big game but by Avisail Garcia, who drove in a career-high seven runs with a career-high five hits, including a three-run homer.
The last-place Sox (59-87) won for the fifth time in their last six games and have a chance to put the plummeting Tigers (60-86) at the bottom of the American League Central before their four-game series is over.
With Garcia, Moncada and Abreu leading the way, the Sox banged out 25 hits, their highest total since they had 26 against the Orioles in 1981. Their 21 singles tied a club record set in 1922 and matched in 1981.
It was a breakout day for Moncada, who homered in the first inning and had a chance to become the first Sox player to reach base seven times in a nine-inning game before striking out looking in the ninth.
While his on-base percentage is a solid .353, thanks in part to 24 walks in 39 games, Moncada hasn’t hit for average since being called up from Class AAA Charlotte in mid-July. But he’s getting there, with 12 hits in his last 28 at-bats raising his average from .179 to .229.
Moncada went from a 34-inch, 32-ounce bat to a 33½-inch, 31-ounce model, which he said gives him a better feel in his hands.
‘‘My swing is more fluid, and I feel stronger with my swing with these bats,’’ he said through an interpreter. ‘‘It was [Abreu’s] suggestion. He saw me having trouble with the bats I was using. He approached me and said, ‘Why don’t you try this different model to see how you feel?’ He ordered the bats, and I’ve been feeling really good with them.’’
Garcia said it felt good to have a big day against the Tigers, for whom he started his career. He raised his average to .333 and his homer and RBI
totals to 17 and 77. He got his final hit by running hard on a routine grounder to third in a blowout game.
‘‘Always I’m trying to do my best and give 100 percent,’’ Garcia said.
Moncada tied Tim Raines’ franchise record from 1994 when he scored his fifth run on a sacrifice fly by Matt Davidson in the eighth.
Winning pitcher James Shields (4-6) allowed four runs in six innings and was hurt by a ground ball Moncada probably should have reached.
‘‘I told [Moncada] that he had been too lackadaisical on that ball,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘He already knew. He was disgusted with himself.’’
The defensive lapse notwithstanding, Moncada is starting to show why the Sox traded ace left-hander Chris Sale to the Red Sox to get him.
‘‘It’s starting to happen,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘At the plate, it’s happening a little more. He’s starting to feel freer on the bases.’’
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