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Adam Eaton goes yard, then ducks for cover

Before Sunday’s game, Eaton was hitting .154 in May. But he was glad to “put the ball in play with some type of authority” in the series finale against the Royals.

Adam Eaton rounds the bases after his two-run homer Sunday.
AP Photos

Before Adam Eaton homered in the fifth inning Sunday, the White Sox hadn’t scored off Royals starter Brady Singer and had scored only six runs in the first three games of the series.

The homer also came at a good time for Eaton.

Entering the game, Eaton was hitting .154 in May. But he was glad to “put the ball in play with some type of authority” in the series finale.

“We’ve got to continue to grind from my own aspect, but I appreciate the skip having faith in me, the team having faith in me, continuing to throw me out there, especially with my struggles,” Eaton said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to hopefully prove them right in order for them to continue to trust in me.”

In the ninth, Eaton played small ball, bunting Tim Anderson to third after his leadoff double. When Eaton squared around to bunt the first pitch, he was buzzed by a Wade Davis cutter and needed a moment to compose himself after ducking away.

“You know you have a job to do, stick your nose back in there and get it done,” Eaton said. “I was thrilled to be able to get him over, and then [Yoan] Moncada does what he does.”

Power outage

It’s hard to argue with Moncada’s .384 on-base percentage, but he and the Sox are waiting on the power.

Moncada, who hit 25 homers and slugged .548 in a breakout 2019 season while balancing patience and aggression, has only three homers to go with a .391 slugging percentage in 2021. The power is going to emerge, Moncada said, and he won’t force it.

“That’s going to come organically,” he said before going 1-for-4 with a walk. “I don’t think that you can go at every at-bat thinking of hitting a homer because that’s just going to mess up your approach. I’m going up there trying to hit the ball hard.”

A year removed from a 2020 season that was wrecked because of lingering COVID-19 effects, Moncada said he’s feeling great physically.

Vaccinated

The Sox announced Saturday that they had reached the 85% threshold of COVID-19 vaccinations, which allows them to relax certain safety protocols. One of the benefits — not wearing masks in the dugout — was especially embraced by manager Tony La Russa.

“Not having the mask, it was easier to breathe,” La Russa said. “It felt more normal.”

Hitting the 85% mark doesn’t mean the Sox can just forget about the pandemic. They’ll still have to be careful and mindful of local regulations wherever they go, but they have taken another step toward returning to normal.

“Knock on wood, we are trending in the right direction, not just in baseball but as a country,” La Russa said.

Engel update

La Russa said the Sox will be releasing something soon about the next steps for outfielder Adam Engel (strained right hamstring). Engel, La Russa said, is making a lot of progress and “looking more like himself.”

“As far as the physical, getting to 100%, he’s either there or very close,” La Russa said.