KC gets leadoff HR from Mondesi, solid Hammel start
By Jeffrey Flanagan and Doug Miller
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox broke a tie by bashing four home runs in three innings and pulled away to beat the Royals, 7-3, on Wednesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.
Chicago second baseman Yoan Moncada, the second-ranked prospect in baseball according to MLBPipeline.com, stepped up with the first White Sox long ball of the afternoon, a two-run shot in the fifth inning which tied the game at 2 and also happened to be Moncada's first of the spring. Moncada, one of the prized prospects the White Sox got in the winter trade that sent Chris Sale to Boston, added a solo homer in the seventh off hard-throwing Royals closer Kelvin Herrera.
Chicago was trailing, 2-0, in the fifth inning and looking rather helpless against Kansas City starter Jason Hammel, but Rymer Liriano singled and reached third on two Royals throwing errors. Moncada took Hammel deep to right field to knot the game and chase the starter. Kansas City reliever Malcolm Culver didn't fare well in the sixth, giving up back-to-back homers: a two-run blast by Avisail Garcia and a solo shot by Cody Asche.
"Hammel looked really sharp," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Our goal was to give him four innings, but he got through that with 50 pitches so we sent him back out for the fifth. He was fantastic."
The game's scoring started right away when Kansas City's leadoff man, Raul Mondesi, drove a pitch from White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez onto the grassy berm beyond the right-center-field fence to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. Mondesi scored the team's second run in the third inning when he led off with a walk, moved to third on a Christian Colon single, and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jorge Soler. Jorge Bonifacio hit a solo homer to left center in the eighth for Kansas City's third run.
Lopez, the No. 46-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, settled in a bit after the first inning and lowered his spring ERA from 6.23 to 5.40. He finished off his outing with a flourish, retiring the final seven batters he faced. After the Mondesi homer, Lopez, who came to Chicago in the Adam Eaton trade over the winter, gave up only two hits.
Royals infielder Colon, in a battle for the starting second-base job, suffered a sprained middle finger on his right hand. Colon had singled and stolen second in the third inning, but then was picked off second. He injured the finger when his hand got trapped under his body as he dived to the bag.
Royals Up Next: The Royals will play split-squad games on Thursday with left-hander Jason Vargas targeted to start against the Mariners at Surprise Stadium in a 3:05 p.m. CT game (listen on Gameday Audio). In the other game, right-hander Josh Staumont, who started the spring in the Royals' big league camp, will start in a 3:10 p.m. CT matchup at Peoria Stadium against the Padres (watch on MLB.TV).
White Sox Up Next: The White Sox have an off-day Thursday but get right back at it on Friday at Camelback Ranch in a home game at 2:05 p.m. CT vs. the Cubs (watch on MLB.TV). Left-hander Derek Holland (3.18 ERA) will make his third start of the spring. Holland has given up two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings of Cactus League play, with five strikeouts and five walks.