CHICAGO — For two innings, the Royals and White Sox seemed engaged in a home run derby.
But in the end, it was the White Sox flexing their muscles the most in a 7-3 victory on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Royals took a quick 1-0 lead off right-hander Ivan Nova when Adalberto Mondesi pounded a 2-0 sinker into the right-center field seats for his eighth homer.
The White Sox, though, were all over right-hander Jakob Junis in their first. A single, a walk and single off Junis’ glove — the latter was a potential double-play ball — loaded the bases. Eloy Jimenez smack a 1-1 sinker from Junis the opposite way into the right-field seats for his first career grand slam.
The Royals responded with back-to-back home runs in their half of the second by Alex Gordon and Ryan O’Hearn. It appeared the homerfest was on.
“Sure looked like it. … boom, boom,” manager Ned Yost said. “I’m thinking ‘What’s going on?’ The ball was just flying out of there.”
Mondesi, who missed 41 games because of a left shoulder injury, hadn’t homered since July 2.
Did it seem that long?
“Yeah, it felt long,” Mondesi said, “but I just keep working and keep battling every day. I feel the same right now as I did [before the injury]. We’ve got [several] more games. Just try to finish strong.”
Junis settled down after his rough start, and at one point, he retired 12 of 13. But the damage already had been done.
“It’s a little bit of the same story each time out with Jake,” Yost said. “It seems like he struggles to find his slot, but then generally after the first inning, he finds it and settles in. It was really after the first hitter of the second inning, he just settled in.
“We were hitting the ball out of the ballpark, too. We just didn’t have guys on like they had guys on. Jake did a good job of holding the fort there. He did a good job limiting the damage after that.”
Junis said there were no dramatic adjustments after the first inning.
“I just tried getting ahead in the count,” Junis said. “I was falling behind a little bit in that first inning. I didn’t have my command. I started getting a little bit of a feel for my slider. I just started attacking, trying to do the best I could to go deeper in the game, keep it where it was and give the team a chance to win.
“Some [were off the mark] in the first. Some bad luck. I threw a changeup that came back and hit me in the wrist. I let that go it might be a double play. Could’ve been out of the inning. Then Jimenez, I threw a sinker down and in that was a pretty good pitch, and he just sliced it the opposite way for a homer. Once you give up four in the first, it’s hard to come back from that.”
The White Sox sealed the deal in the seventh when Yoan Moncada ripped his 23rd home run of the season, a two-run shot off reliever Kevin McCarthy.