Royals third baseman Danny Valencia took advantage of his opportunity.
Valencia started against White Sox right-hander Andre Rienzo. Until Tuesday, the Royals had been going with a platoon for about a month with Mike Moustakas starting against right-handers and Valencia against lefties.
But Moustakas has been mired in a season-long slump, and Royals manager Ned Yost made the call to go with Valencia.
“I just wanted to give Danny a shot,” Yost said.
It paid off Tuesday. Valencia smacked a two-run double in the second and added a single and a walk.
“Every time you get in there it’s an opportunity to help the team win,” Valencia said. “For me, I was able to get a couple of hits, but we came up short. A tough loss.”
Valencia, who has been an everyday player only once in his five major-league seasons, figures to get plenty of more at-bats this week. The Royals are scheduled to see a lefty, Jose Quintana, in the series closer and Friday in the opening game against the Angels in Anaheim, C.J. Wilson.
Moustakas lugged a .153 batting average into the game. His four home runs tie for the team lead but his on-base percentage lags at .225 and he’s slugging .323.
He got an at-bat on Tuesday but popped out to third as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.
Last week, Moustakas had a bases-clearing double and another two-base hit in the Royals 3-2 victory over the Rockies, but the day didn’t provide a jump start. He’s one of 12 since then.
Valencia entered Tuesday hitting .283 and has hit lefties well throughout his career — .333 this season vs. .188 against right-handers. For the next few days, he’ll see a variety.
“He got an opportunity now, three days in a row.Let’s see what develops,” Yost said.