CHICAGO (AP) — Although the White Sox head into the All-Star break with nearly twice as many losses as wins, the players remain optimistic.
Sunday certainly provided a reason for hope.
Daniel Palka and Yoan Moncada homered, and Lucas Giolito tossed two-hit ball into the seventh inning, lifting Chicago to a 10-1 victory over the struggling Kansas City Royals.
Moncada was 3 for 3 with a walk and three runs scored a day after leaving a game with a bruised right knee. Palka also had three hits and two RBIs while Tim Anderson and Kevan Smith each hit a two-run double as Chicago pounded out 13 hits.
The rebuilding White Sox had dropped seven of nine before Sunday and are 33-62 overall.
"It wasn't a very good first half in wins and losses, but I think that's part of the process," Moncada said. "We're all trying to do our best. We improved during the first half, and I think in the second half we'll be much better."
Adalberto Mondesi homered leading off the eighth for the Royals, who are 2-11 in July.
"Losing (stinks), and we've lost a lot," second baseman Whit Merrifield said. "It hasn't been fun as far as all that goes. We got four days off. Hopefully, we can regroup and everyone can kind of step back and reset."
Kansas City decided to go with a bullpen day instead of a regular starting pitcher. The relievers were no match for Giolito (6-8). The right-hander allowed just two hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking three.
"Today was one of those days where we put it all together," Giolito said. "I'm looking forward to more of those."
After Giolito worked out of his only jam in the top of the first with an assist from the defense — Jorge Bonifacio was thrown out trying to score from second on a single to left with one out — Palka's two-run blast off starter Burch Smith (0-1) gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
"I'm not really feeling my best in the first and then an unreal play," Giolito said of the play at the plate. "It gets me fired up. It's like, 'Alright, no one's crossing the plate this inning.'"
The lead grew to 4-0 in the third as Jose Abreu scored on a wild pitch and Leury Garcia followed with an RBI single against left-hander Brian Flynn. Chicago then broke the game open with a five-run fifth against left-hander Enny Romero. Moncada, who was hit in the knee by a pick-off throw on Saturday, started things with a lead-off homer. It was his 12th of the season and first right-handed. Anderson and Smith each had a two-run double to make it 9-0.
Moncada doubled and scored in the sixth to make 10-0 before Mondesi's homer off Jeanmar Gomez broke the shutout.
"It was one of those days," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "We didn't pitch good."
TAKING A DIVE
When Moncada was hit in the knee on Saturday, he appeared to be in great pain and significantly injured. After discovering he was fine on Sunday, his teammates taped the name "NEYMAR" above his locker.
"He's known to be a player who likes to act when people touch him or he gets kicked," Moncada said of the Brazilian soccer star through a translator. "They were messing with me."
START ME UP
Salvador Perez, the Royals' lone All-Star, will replace injured Wilson Ramos as the AL's starting catcher in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
White Sox: RHP Nate Jones (strained forearm muscle) will travel to Triple-A Charlotte during the All-Star break and throw live batting practice on Tuesday.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (4-8, 4.59 ERA) will pitch the opener of a three-game series with Minnesota on Friday night.
White Sox: RHP James Shields (4-10, 4.43 ERA) takes the mound Friday night for the start of a three-game series at Seattle.