Moncada jump-starts Knights in comeback win

Top White Sox prospect delivers long ball, three runs, two steals

Yoan Moncada is batting .314 with four homers and four steals in 13 games this season. (Chris Robertson/MiLB.com)

By Alex Kraft / MiLB.com | April 20, 2017 10:04 PM ET

Yoan Moncada had to use all of his talents to help his team achieve victory Thursday.

Baseball's top prospect homered, singled, walked, scored three times and swiped two bases as Triple-A Charlotte erased an early deficit and beat Pawtucket, 6-4, at BB&T Ballpark.

Moncada opened the scoring in the first inning with a solo home run to left field on a 3-1 pitch by PawSox starter Henry Owens. The long ball, his second in three games against his former organization, set the tone after an 0-for-4, three-strikeout night Wednesday.


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"It obviously felt good coming right out with the home run, but I kept the same focus and kept thinking about making the same adjustments throughout the game," Moncada said through translator and coach Anthony Santiago.

Video: Charlotte's Moncada tees off in first inning

The Red Sox responded with three runs in the top of the second, but Moncada helped the Knights rally three innings later. After ripping a one-out single to left in the fifth, the top White Sox prospect stole second with two outs in the frame. The steal set up Nicky Delmonico's RBI single to pull Charlotte within one.

Moncada struck again in practically the same manner in the seventh. With one out, he drew a walk from Pawtucket reliever Erik Cordier. The Cuban-born infielder once again swiped second before coming around to score the tying run on another two-out single by Delmonico.  Danny Hayes then lofted a three-run homer to give the Knights the lead for good.

"Luckily I got those chances to get to first base and then be able to steal the bags," Moncada said. "You just go out and try to play the same game, play the game hard, and luckily we were able to come out victorious. All I think about is playing for the team and playing to the best of my ability."

The 21-year-old had struggled since a 12-for-31 stretch over his first seven games with Charlotte. Moncada came into the contest 2-for-17 in his last five games with eight strikeouts. He had not stolen a base in eight games, having been caught in his lone attempt during that span. After Thursday, his average rose from .292 to .314, while the two steals moved him into a tie for third in the International League with four.

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"It's always good to have a night like I had today," Moncada said. "I'm always going to keep up with the things I'm doing no matter how I'm playing. Keep going over my tape and keep playing hard every day. Hopefully, I can keep having good games."

Reliever David Holmberg (2-0) picked up the win after walking two and fanning one in two hitless innings. Charlotte starter Tyler Danish allowed three runs on four hits and struck out four over six frames. Chris Beck surrendered a solo homer in the ninth, but fanned one while recording the final three outs for his first save.

Cordier (0-1) allowed two runs on a hit and two walks while striking out three over two innings to suffer the loss for Pawtucket.

Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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