Liriano stays in control for Knights

White Sox slugger bashes two homers in four-hit outburst

Rymer Liriano is 8-for-15 with four RBIs and six runs scored during a four-game hitting streak. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

By Gerard Gilberto / MiLB.com | June 18, 2017 6:33 PM ET

In the eyes of Triple-A Charlotte hitting coach Andy Tomberlin, veteran outfielder Rymer Liriano has put an entire season's worth of pressure on himself to try and make up for lost time.

The 25-year-old missed all of 2016 due to a concussion and multiple facial fractures after getting hit by a pitch in Spring Training with the Brewers and has had a difficult start to his first season with the White Sox.

"He's been fighting some things and trying to do too much. I know that's he's been overswinging at times and we've just talked about keeping his direction and being under control," Tomberlin said. "He's put a lot of pressure on himself to get back on track and it's been kind of a battle."


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On Sunday, Liriano slugged a pair of solo homers and singled twice to complete a 4-for-4 effort in the Knights' 12-11 loss to Indianapolis at BB&T Ballpark. The long balls doubled the season total for the native of the Dominican Republic, who also walked, drove in three runs and scored three times.

"I know he's working hard and I know there's things that everybody needs to work on," Tomberlin said. "I know he's focused on trying to simplify his approach and stay consistent."

Liriano went 0-for-17 in a five-game stretch early this month but has broken out for eight hits in his last 15 at-bats. In 52 games this season, he's batting .234 with 20 RBIs and 27 runs scored. 

Liriano sustained the head injuries after taking a fastball from Matt West off the left side of his face in a Cactus League game against the Dodgers on March 20, 2016. Sunday's performance marked his eighth four-hit game and the seventh in which he went deep at least twice during a 10-year professional career.

"He's obviously a guy that has a lot of talent as well. We encourage these guys to be aggressive but under control," Tomberlin said. "Part of our talk and part of the approach is for him to be under control. I think that's what we all try to do, especially a veteran guy. Everyone wants to be consistent, but you got to be able to show it."

Video: Liriano's second homer for Charlotte

Liriano lifted a 1-1 pitch from Indianapolis starter Tyler Eppler over the right-center field in the second inning for his third long ball of the season. After getting ahead, 3-0, in his next encounter with Eppler to begin the fourth, he got the green light and pulled a fly ball out to left.

"Whenever it's a strike and a good pitch, we're looking to be aggressive and I know that there wasn't any limits to things," Tomberlin said. "Especially when guys are struggling a little bit, we encourage these guys to take advantage of the fastball, especially if it's a strike in a situation where you might be able to get a good pitch."

Liriano added singles in the fifth and sixth, the first against Eppler on a roller that shortstop Phil Gosselin had to stuff in his back pocket. He capped a five-run sixth against reliever A.J. Schugel with a bloop hit to center that plated White Sox No. 17 prospect Adam Engel.

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Knightscloser Bobby Parnell surrendered five runs in the ninth as Danny Ortiz capped a two-homer day with a three-run blast. 

Liriano drew a five-pitch walk leading off the bottom of the ninth and scored on a sacrifice fly by top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada. Charlotte added a run on a single by No. 27 prospect Jacob May but left the tying run at third as Angel Sanchez struck out Ronald Bueno.

Moncada singled twice, walked and scored twice, while Cody Asche tripled, singled and drove in a pair of runs for the Knights. Reynaldo Lopez, the fifth-ranked White Sox prospect, allowed three runs on five hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings, striking out three.

The Indians got homers from Gosselin, Christopher Bostick and Eric Wood in addition to the blasts by Ortiz, who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Wood also had three hits, plating two runs and scoring three times.

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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