White Sox’ Cuban connection stays front and center

Rick Renteria went with his top-heavy Cuban lineup a second straight day Sunday, and why not? It produced a 21-hit onslaught in an 11-5 win over the Royals on Saturday.

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Yoan Moncada (from left), Luis Robert and Jose Abreu at SoxFest.

Yoan Moncada (from left), Luis Robert and Jose Abreu at SoxFest.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

White Sox manager Rick Renteria went with his top-heavy Cuban lineup a second consecutive day, and why not? The second try resulted in 14 hits in a 9-2 victory Sunday against the Royals after the first time produced a 21-hit onslaught in an 11-5 win.

With center fielder Luis Robert, third baseman Yoan Moncada, first baseman Jose Abreu and catcher Yasmani Grandal lined up Saturday, it was the first time four Cuban-born players occupied the first four slots in a major-league lineup.

“That’s pretty cool to hear,” Renteria said. “Actually, one of the guys [Abreu] brought it to my attention. He was pretty excited about it. They were talking about it around the batting cage.”

The foursome combined to go 11-for-22 with four RBI and seven runs Saturday. Robert had a home run and two doubles and fell a triple shy of the cycle. On Sunday, Grandal had three singles and a walk and drove in three runs. Grandal’s single in the seventh scored Nick Madrigal to give the Sox a 4-2 lead after Abreu (double, single, two runs) broke a 2-2 tie with a single.

Grandal, who started the season 2-for-17, has five RBI and five hits in the last two games, raising his average to .269 with five walks.

“I’ve been working through some mechanical issues,” said Grandal, an American Leaguer for the first time. “Not having faced guys from the Twins and Indians and even these guys, it takes time. Obviously, we have no video, so it’s making another adjustment through a game. It’s really hard for us to do. You just try to make them throw as many pitches as they can so you can see them and hopefully try to make an adjustment from there.”

Lefty specialists

Left-hander Ross Detwiler, who retired the first 16 batters he faced this season, allowed a one-out single to Whit Merrifield in the eighth before getting an inning-ending double play and pitching a perfect ninth. It was the longest streak by a Sox pitcher to open the season since Gary Glover in 2001 (also 16).

Lefty Aaron Bummer has eight strikeouts in four scoreless innings covering his last four appearances.

Herrera released

Right-hander Kelvin Herrera was granted his unconditional release, closing the chapter on a free-agent signing gone bad.

Herrera had a 6.14 ERA last season after agreeing to a two-year, $18 million contract. He was ineffective in two outings this season before the Sox designated him for assignment Friday.

This and that

Leury Garcia, who played shortstop Saturday in place of Tim Anderson (strained groin) and reached base six times, including four hits, had the day off for personal reasons because of a death in the family, Renteria said. Danny Mendick started at shortstop.

Nicky Delmonico started in right field, his first appearance since Tuesday in Cleveland, and was batting .105 when he drove in two runs with a single in the seven-run seventh.

Right fielder Nomar Mazara, on the injured list for an unspecified reason, could be activated Monday.

† Robert, who has hit safely in eight of his first nine games, turns 23 Monday.

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