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    February 11, 2019 1:00 pm IST
    Chicago White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada knows he is capable of excellence at the big league level.

    But the 23-year-old admits that his confidence has wavered at times during an up-and-down sophomore campaign. Moncada flashed his talent with a career-high six RBIs in his most recent game [url=http://www.authenticsdallascowboys.com/cheap-mike-white-jersey]Mike White Color Rush Jersey[/url] , and he hopes to build on that success Tuesday night as Chicago welcomes the Minnesota Twins to open a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field.

    “Every time you are passing through a rough moment, you have doubts,” Moncada said through an interpreter in comments posted on the team’s official website. “You have questions. But when you keep working hard, you can answer those questions. For me, that was it.

    “I had a few moments with doubts and questions why things weren’t going my way. But I keep trying. I’m just working hard and hopefully the good results are keeping for a long time.”

    Collectively, Chicago (26-51) is trying to stay positive despite a disappointing first half. The White Sox are coming off a series split against the Oakland Athletics and have won or tied five of their past six series at home.

    Meanwhile, Minnesota (34-40) will go for back-to-back wins after posting a 2-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in Sunday’s series finale. The shutout win offered a breath of fresh air for the Twins, who had surrendered 26 runs in their previous three games.

    Twins infielder Eduardo Escobar is one of several batters who have provided run support for the starting staff. Escobar ranks first in the majors with 33 doubles in 71 games. He is hitting .293 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs.

    “God gave me this talent, so I just go out there and swing hard and that’s what’s happening,” Escobar recently told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I like to swing hard.”

    That could make for compelling drama against White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (2-5, 3.59 ERA), who throws hard. Lopez will make his 16th start of the season and the 30th of his young career.

    In his most recent outing, Lopez struggled in a 12-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians. He gave up five runs (four earned) and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also walked four and struck out six.

    It marked the fifth time this season that Lopez has walked at least four batters. The 24-year-old will look for better command in his third appearance against the Twins. He is 0-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 2/3 innings against the club.

    For the Twins, right-hander Lance Lynn (5-5, 4.64) is set to make his 15th start. The former St. Louis Cardinals hurler struggled badly after signing a free-agent deal just before the start of the season, but he has settled down remarkably in the past month. He is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA (seven earned runs in 36 1/3 innings) in his past six starts.

    In four career starts against the White Sox [url=http://www.authenticsdallascowboys.com/cheap-leighton-vander-esch-jersey]Leighton Vander Esch Color Rush Jersey[/url] , Lynn is 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder has walked three and struck out 33 in 25 1/3 innings.

    Minnesota has a 6-3 edge over Chicago in the season series. The Twins have outscored the White Sox 44-32.

    With the two best games of his career coming on consecutive days, designated hitter Evan Gattis has quickly transformed into the Astros‘ hottest hitter – and their current good luck charm.

    He’s got a franchise record to prove it, too.

    Gattis hit two home runs, including the first of back-to-back shots with Marwin Gonzalez during a seven-run second inning, and the streaking Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 13-5 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight win.

    One night after homering and setting a career high with five RBIs, Gattis drove in five again, becoming the first player in franchise history to drive in five in consecutive games.

    ”It was fun to watch our guys respond to his continued damage at-bats,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”They’re taking his helmet off and rubbing it all over themselves and they’re trying to get as close to him as they can. They want whatever he’s eating, whatever he’s doing during the games.”

    Jake Marisnick also homered, Carlos Correa had a two-run triple and Yuli Gurriel had three hits and three RBIs to help Gerrit Cole (8-1) win his sixth straight decision.

    Gattis had a sacrifice fly in the first inning, hit a three-run home run off A’s starter Paul Blackburn (1-1) in the second then went deep again with a solo blast off Emilio Pagan in the seventh. Gattis also walked in the eighth.

    ”He’s white hot,” Cole said. ”Just a great approach right now. He’s obviously put the team on his back a little bit.”

    Gattis’ 10 RBIs in two games also ties an Astros record, but the big slugger wouldn’t say he’s necessarily locked in at the plate.

    ”It never feels like it,” Gattis said. ”You’re about to go hit a ball with a stick and you’re going to get out 70 percent of the time. You have to enjoy the good stuff if you’re going to get mad about the negatives in the game.”

    Cole allowed a season-high four runs over six uneven innings, including two home runs [url=http://www.authenticsdenverbroncos.com/cheap-royce-freeman-jersey]Royce Freeman Color Rush Jersey[/url] , but benefited from the early cushion. The AL leader in strikeouts fanned six and yielded six hits with two walks.

    That gives Houston three eight-game winners – Cole, Thursday’s starter Justin Verlander (8-2) and Tuesday’s winner Lance McCullers (8-3).

    ”Some undesirable results a couple times,” Cole said. ”Fastball command wasn’t poor but it wasn’t as sharp.”

    The defending World Series champs moved a season-high 19 games over .500. This is Houston’s longest winning streak since taking seven in a row from Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2017.

    Oakland outfielder Jake Smolinski became the first A’s position player to pitch in a game since utility player Tyler Ladendorf on June 3, 2016. Smolinski allowed a leadoff double to Max Stassi and a two-run home run to Marisnick in the ninth, then retired the next three batters.

    ”The one thing you really want is don’t get hurt and throw the ball over the middle of the plate, and he did exactly that,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”He was up for it. He’s up for just about anything.”

    Khris Davis homered twice for Oakland, his 18th and 19th of the season. Stephen Piscotty also went deep.

    The Astros flexed their defensive muscle in the eighth after Matt Olson reached on an error. Marisnick made a leaping catch in center to rob Matt Chapman of a home run, then threw to second baseman Tony Kemp, who relayed to first to double up Olson.

    QUICK EXIT

    Blackburn retired only four batters and allowed eight runs before departing in the second.

    TRAINER’S ROOM

    Athletics: Chapman made another handful of stellar defensive plays at third base, one night after getting hit in the left hand by a 92.3 mph fastball from Astros reliever Collin McHugh.

    UP NEXT

    Verlander (8-2, 2.58 ERA) makes his 15th start in the series finale for Houston on Thursday. Among qualifying pitchers, Verlander leads the majors in ERA and is second in innings pitched (93 1/3) and third in strikeouts (113). Right-hander Frankie Montas (3-0, 1.25) goes for Oakland.




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