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Confidence keys Rios' game-winner

CHICAGO -- The start of Alex Rios’ night wasn’t exactly how he would have drawn it up. Rios entered the game in the top of the first after Carlos Quentin was removed with a left shoulder injury. As Quentin left the game to cheers, the fans quickly turned on Rios and booed the struggling centerfielder as he jogged onto the field to take his position.

Rios then faced more heckling from the crowd as he struck out with two men on in the bottom half of the first. Not even an inning into the game, Rios had gotten booed twice -- in a game he wasn’t even supposed to start to boot.

However Rios, who has posted an abysmal .212/.253/.313 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) line this season, has refused to get down on himself.

“I’ve never lost my confidence. It’s something that athletes can’t do,” Rios said. “It will bring you down. I’m just trying my best and I’m not going to quit. Even if I’m at my lowest point, I’m not going to quit. I’m ready to battle.”

Rios' chance at redemption came in the bottom of the eighth as he came to bat with pinch-runner Brent LIllibridge on first and the game tied at two. Rios was 0-for-3 on the night to that point, but again, he didn’t let deter him, as he pulled double into the left field corner as Lillibridge came around to score what would prove to be the game-winning run in the White Sox 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers.

“That’s what I’m supposed to do,” Rios said. “I’m supposed to help the team win games. Fortunately, it happened and we are glad we won the game.”

Manager Ozzie Guillen said he’s been pleased with the way Rios has looked recently, even though the results may not be what everyone wants.

“He’s been hitting the ball hard the last couple of weeks,” Guillen said. “He no have no luck. Obviously I’m not defending him because when you hit .214, no matter how you hit .214, you’re hitting .214. But I think Rios is connecting the ball very well since the trip we have in Baltimore and Minnesota.”

Rios hit .333 with a home run on the road trip Guillen was referring to, but then followed that up with only two hits in his next 20 at-bats before his clutch double on Saturday night.

“If I hit the ball good, good things are going to happen,” Rios said. “And if I can stay, not where I’m at right now, because I want to do a little better and be in a better position, but if I can do that, I will be fine.”

Rios had been getting more time off in favor of Alejandro De Aza, but with Quentin’s status in question, Rios’ bat may be leaned on more heavily in the coming days.

“The [good] thing about it is it’s negative, it’s not broken,” Guillen said of Quentin’s shoulder. “That’s what I worried about it. Obviously it’s going to be sore for a few days. Hopefully with the day off Monday help him to recover for the next series back in Anaheim or Seattle.”