White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada has dealt with soreness in his legs this season, but he revealed Thursday that he is also dealing with fatigue issues related to testing positive for the coronavirus before summer camp got underway.
“My body hasn’t felt the same after the virus,” Moncada said before the Sox opened a four-game series against the Royals with an 11-6 victory in Kansas City. “I feel a lack of energy and strength. It’s a weird feeling. It’s different. When I got to Chicago, I was feeling strong and with energy. Now it’s a daily battle to find that energy to go through the day.”
Offensive energy flowed freely throughout the Sox’ lineup at Kauffman Stadium a night after the team dropped its second straight game, this one in ugly fashion, to the Twins. Fueled by homers from Edwin Encarnacion, Tim Anderson and Luis Robert, the Sox (23-15) got the needed bounce-back and closed to a half-game of the idle first-place Indians in the American League Central.
“It was definitely a priority to jump on them,” Anderson said. “We saw how bad we can be [making four errors in the 8-1 loss Wednesday to the Twins]. We wanted to see how good we can be.
“Last night was so bad, we were ready to get out there and produce good results.”
After Hunter Dozier homered against right-hander Dylan Cease to put the Sox in a 1-0 hole in the first, a five-run second provided a comfy cushion. Encarnacion’s 446-foot homer to left, his seventh of the season, got it started, and Jose Abreu’s two-run double with the bases full capped it off.
Anderson homered in the fourth to make it 6-1, and after the Royals closed to 6-4, Robert’s 458-foot three-run homer against right-hander Jake Newberry highlighted a five-run Sox seventh. It was Robert’s 11th and longest homer of his rookie season.
Asked what teammates said to him after the home run, Robert said, “Wow, you’re strong.”
“Big win, today’s game was important,” Robert said. “But just as important is tomorrow’s game, as every game is at this point of the season.”
Moncada lifted a sacrifice fly one batter before Robert’s bomb. His 2020 numbers pale next to 2019, when he was third in the AL with a .315 batting average and 11th in slugging (.548) with 25 homers.
After a good start, Moncada (.242 average) is batting .195 with three homers in his last 23 games. He was asymptomatic when he tested positive during the team’s intake period in July.
“I hope he can play to the excellent level he has in the past,” manager Rick Renteria said. “But we are aware of the things he’s going through on a daily basis.”
Moncada missed three games with soreness in his left hamstring before returning to play Wednesday in Minnesota.
The Sox improved to 6-1 against the Royals and to 12-0 against left-handed starters. They own the second-longest season-opening streak against lefties in major-league history behind the 1963 Orioles (16-0), according to STATS.
Cease (5-2, 3.29 ERA) allowed three runs, four hits and two walks. He struck out only one and got seven swings and misses in five-plus innings.
“I have to do a better job filling the strike zone,” Cease said.
The Royals put the tying run in the on-deck circle with one out after loading the bases against Steve Cishek in the ninth. Bubba Starling struck out, and Danny Mendick made a slick play to retire Edward Olivares on a groundout to end the game.