AJ's big day keys White Sox sweep

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AJ's big day keys White Sox sweep

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 10-6 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.

Pierzynski connected off reliever Rafael Perez in Chicago's five-run, sixth inning that included a two-run shot by Alejandro De Aza off Dan Wheeler. De Aza opened the game with a single and scored during Chicago's four-run first against Justin Masterson (0-1).

Travis Hafner had a long solo homer and three RBIs and Shelley Duncan had a two-run homer for Cleveland. The Indians went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and finished their first homestand 1-4.

John Danks (1-1) gave up four runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings for the White Sox, who head to Chicago for their home opener on Friday against the Detroit Tigers.

Improved defense high on list of White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada this spring

Improved defense high on list of White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada this spring

MESA, Ariz. — Yoan Moncada applied some of his early work in camp to the field on Monday afternoon when he started a double play with a spectacular diving stop.

In his first start of the spring, the White Sox second baseman's dazzling play helped pitcher Lucas Giolito out of a first-inning jam. Moncada struck out in his only plate appearances as the White Sox and Cubs finished in a 4-4 tie in nine innings at Sloan Park.

"Definitely that play was unbelievable," Giolito said. "It really helped me get out of that inning. They had the momentum going, guys on base, nobody out. (Moncada) makes a play like that and they turn the double play, it's fantastic. It's really good defense to have behind you."

The top player acquired in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada has been described by some as not having a set position. There's a thought he might be better suited for third base or perhaps even center field. But Moncada prefers second base and that's where the White Sox intend to give him a chance.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria said earlier this spring that Moncada has all the requisite tools needed to play second base, he just needs to fine tune. Renteria said the biggest area of refinement is footwork and getting Moncada to take less circular routes to the ball.

Moncada feels good about the work he's put in so far.

"It's nothing really hard, but you have to make adjustments," Moncada said through an interpreter. "I'm trying to have my legs a little more open. That's work we're doing right now on my defense.

"My focus is just to try to get better in every aspect of the game, my offense, my defense, my baserunning too. It's the mentality we have here right now, and I'm just trying to take advantage of it."

Moncada has appeared in all three White Sox games this spring. He's 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a walk. 

Prospect Lucas Giolito debuts for White Sox in tie against Cubs

Prospect Lucas Giolito debuts for White Sox in tie against Cubs

MESA, Ariz. — One of the main points of emphasis for Lucas Giolito this spring is to consistently throw his curveball for strikes so hitters respect it.

The White Sox prospect was partly pleased with how he commanded his offspeed pitch on Monday as he debuted in a 4-4 tie between the White Sox and Cubs at Sloan Park. Giolito allowed a run, three hits, walked one and struck out two in two innings pitched. He also surrendered a long home run to Addison Russell.

"I'd say in the first inning, I did an OK job of commanding a curveball for a strike," Giolito said. "I feel like when I throw it for a strike and can show I can throw it for a strike, that's when I can get more swings on it. The second inning, I kind of got away from it. I was kind of yanking them, throwing a lot in the dirt low and away, and a big-league hitter is just going to spit on that. I'm just going to continue to work on that, throwing a curveball for a strike, commanding a fastball especially down and away to righties."

The team's top pitching prospect was pleased with how he commanded his fastball in to righties and away to left-handed hitters. He also was happy with his changeup.

Beyond that, Giolito displayed some fight when he worked his way into trouble. Courtesy of a nice diving stop by Yoan Moncada, Giolito induced a double play off Anthony Rizzo's bat after Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant singled to start the bottom of the first inning. Following Russell's no-doubt homer in the second inning, Giolito struck out Miguel Montero and Willson Contreras and worked around a two-out walk.

"I didn't really translate the stuff I was doing in the 'pen, the stuff I've been working on very well in the game," Giolito said. "I got into the game, and it's a pretty packed stadium, adrenaline going, I got a little quick, got a little ahead of myself and missed, especially with the four-seam fastball. I missed quite a few. Obviously the homer, the line drive, you could see where the misses were."

"I did a better job today throwing fastballs away to lefties and inside to righties than the opposite. So we continue to work on that in the pen, but I'll have plenty more opportunities, a lot of stuff to work on in the spring."

[RELATED: Facing Cubs for first time, Rick Renteria happy with White Sox]

Jose Abreu homered and singled and drove in two runs in three at-bats and Tim Anderson doubled in a run and singled in three trips. Afterward, Abreu left the team for personal reasons to return to Miami. He's expected to be back in camp on Wednesday.

Juan Minaya struck out four batters in two scoreless innings in relief to keep the score tied.

Third baseman Todd Frazier took 35 swings and 35 ground balls prior to Monday's game. Frazier, who has a mild oblique strain, said he's made good progress since he hurt himself last Monday.

"Feeling good," Frazier said. "See how we feel tomorrow, you never know. Some people don't believe mild strain, but it really was. Work in slow, but when I get in game, get in game.

"Could be a couple of days, could be five or six or after off day. Don't need much time. At the back end of March we'll be getting after it."