While the Chicago White Sox are looking to the future as their top prospect made his debut with the club, the Los Angeles Dodgers are just fine in the present.
The MLB-best Dodgers on Wednesday night slugged their way to a 9-1 victory in a rain-shortened game, winning their 11th straight and spoiling the White Sox debut of Yoan Moncada.
Kike Hernandez homered in his first two at-bats, breaking out of a 1-for-23 slump and helping the Dodgers to their 31st victory in 35 games.
The game was called in the top of the eighth inning after a 37-minute delay.
Hernandez had solo home runs in the second and fourth innings, his second career multi-homer game. His approach was simple.
“I told myself to swing at strikes and I did,” Hernandez said. “We’re trying to ride it out as long as possible, but we feel like we’re the team to beat.”
Chicago starter Carlos Rodon (1-3) allowed home runs to his first batter, as Chris Taylor led the game off with one, and his last, as Corey Seager’s two-run homer in the fourth chased him.
Moncada, a second baseman acquired in December last year as the main piece in a trade with Boston for ace Chris Sale, batted sixth and was hitless in two at-bats.
He drew a walk in his first plate appearance for the White Sox, then grounded out in the fourth inning and flied out in the sixth.
“I was excited with the way the fans treated me and how they were cheering for me,” Moncada said through a translator. “I felt good. I executed my plan. I didn’t get any base hits, but I hit the ball hard.”
The White Sox sold about 5,000 tickets partly in response to Moncada’s call-up from Triple-A Charlotte, the team said.
The fans hung on every pitch of his first plate appearance, where he worked an 0-2 count for a nine-pitch walk.
“He’s being welcomed by a large city that is looking forward to having him here for a long time and being a contribution to this organization, so it’s a good thing,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
After Taylor’s home run, Melky Cabrera answered with a solo shot in the bottom of the first to tie the score, while Rodon allowed three walks and struck out four.
Kenta Maeda (8-4) allowed one run and five hits in five innings, striking out three. Reliever Ross Stribling threw two scoreless innings, retiring the final six batters he faced.
Three straight doubles by Yaisiel Puig, Trayce Thompson and Taylor, and RBI singles from Seager and Justin Turner in the four-run sixth inning closed the scoring for the Dodgers, who have won 14 out of 15 games.
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