Rios stays focused, and it pays off

CHICAGO -- While most of the postgame talk in the White Sox's clubhouse centered around Paul Konerko’s 12-game hitting streak, starter Jake Peavy was quick to give kudos to the player who hits right behind the captain, right fielder Alex Rios.

Rios’ performance during Saturday’s 14-7 win over Cleveland could be best described as relentless.

Not once but twice Rios found himself come just short of what would have been monster hits on Saturday: first, he was robbed of a three-run home run in the first inning as center fielder Michael Brantley made a spectacular leaping catch over the wall. Then in the fourth, Rios had a line drive snagged by diving right fielder Shin-Soo Choo that would have scored another run.

But Rios found redemption in the eighth inning by blasting a two-run home run to left field off a 3-1 pitch. It was Rios’ third round-tripper of this home stand.

That’s what had Peavy talking afterward.

“That’s just the mentality that we’re taking, that Robin and this team has said, ‘we’re going to battle and grind this thing out to the end,’ and you watch that attitude there with a specific player,” Peavy said.

Rios, who also doubled in the third, said his focus never wavered. He said to change his mentality after that first at-bat would have ruined his day. And as an outfielder himself the only thing he can do is tip his cap to defensive plays like those.

“Obviously you’re going to get mad but to lose focus on the game you’re going to have a couple of more at-bats that could be useful during the game,” Rios said. “You get a little mad but it’s not something that’s going to take you away from your plan.”