Collects triple, five singles; first to get four hits off Verlander in one game
DETROIT -- Alex Rios entered the ninth inning of Tuesday's 11-4 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park with five hits in five trips to the plate.
This particular total in and of itself stands up as extremely solid work over two or maybe even three games, but the White Sox right fielder wasn't finished. With runners on the corners and two outs, Rios hit a hard grounder toward first baseman Prince Fielder.
Alexei Ramirez, who had singled to keep this three-run ninth alive, screened Fielder just enough to have the ball bounce past him into right. The official scorer awarded Rios his sixth hit, which he was informed of by first-base coach Daryl Boston, and Rios had matched both a franchise and American League single-game record.
"It's fun to get six hits," said Rios, whose average jumped from .267 to .281 with his 6-for-6 showing. "I don't know how to describe it, but it's fun, and if you feel like you're making progress, it's even better."
"That takes people like me two, maybe three weeks to get six," said White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn, who finished with three hits, three RBIs and a home run in the club's 23-hit attack. "Yeah, it's a record. I don't care what kind of record it is. It's six hits in a game, and that's pretty good."
Rios also became the first player to get four hits in a game against Detroit starter Justin Verlander, with a single in the first, a triple in the third, another single in the fifth and a leadoff single in the eighth to spark a seven-run inning. According to Elias, Rios also became the third player in baseball history to finish 6-for-6 with two stolen bases.
Prior to this breakout performance, Rios had three hits in his previous four games covering 15 at-bats, but he had a better feeling at the plate of late.
"I've been feeling good in batting practice," Rios said. "I hadn't felt good either in batting practice or during the games. It seems like I'm making progress and hopefully can bring that consistency up again."
"He's a good player. He puts the barrel on it," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Rios. "It hasn't been sharp lately, I think with everything kind of floating around about this team. He's as good as anyone in the league. Tonight was indicative of that. He was hitting, running the bases great."
Ventura's reference to stuff floating around the team centers on trade rumors involving the last-place White Sox, with Rios as one of the prime targets for contending teams. Rios said in St. Petersburg over the weekend that the rumors didn't affect his play, and even if they did for a minute or two previously, he put them out of his mind on Tuesday for the first six-hit effort he can ever remember.
"When you're hot, you're hot," said Tigers catcher Alex Avila. "Hit good or bad pitches, it doesn't really matter."
"He had a great day," said Verlander of Rios. "He was locked in at the plate."