By Paul LaTour
One characteristic of the White Sox this season has been their ability to shake off bad losses.
Just in the past 12 games, theyve had to rebound from three of them -- 9-1 against Kansas City on May 13, 7-2 at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on May 16, and 9-2 against Minnesota on May 22.
Yet after their 14-7 victory over Cleveland on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox have won four in a row and eight out of nine, showing the distinct ability to ignore what happened in the past.
Alex Rios provided a microcosm of that attitude Saturday.
Rios was robbed of two extra-base hits with multiple RBI in his first three plate appearances. He still finished 3-for-5 with a home run and a double, while tying his season high with three RBI.
Theres no point to lose focus on the game because youre going to have a couple more at-bats that could be useful, Rios said. You get a little mad, but its not something thats going to take you away from your plan.
In Rios first plate appearance, he drove a Derek Lowe pitch deep into center field. But Michael Brantley timed it perfectly as he leapt to catch the ball over the fence, just to the left of the 400-foot marker.
Despite losing a three-run home run on the catch, Rios appreciated the stellar defense.
Its a good play, he said. With runners on base its an even better play. You have to understand that if its a good play, its a good play.
Rios followed that with an RBI single and later scored during Chicagos four-run third. But in the fourth, Rios was robbed again.
With Paul Konerko on second, Rios sliced a pitch down the right-field line only to see it end up in the glove of a sliding Shin-Soo Choo. Rios had the final say, though, as he finished with an RBI double and two-run home run in his final two plate appearances.
If I changed my mentality, it would have ruined my day, Rios said. So you just have to keep focused and look forward to the other at-bats.
Rios was only part of the story as the Sox set season-highs in runs and hits (17) while earning their fourth straight victory. Dayan Viciedo finished with a career-high five RBI, while Konerko continued his torrid pace with a four-hit, three-run, two-RBI afternoon.
The offensive surge helped Jake Peavy despite a less-than-stellar appearance. He gave up a season-high seven runs in 6 13 innings, yet also had a season-high nine strikeouts and earned the win to improve to 6-1.
Peavy said Rios exemplified what is becoming the signature of the White Sox under first-year manager Robin Ventura.
You should watch the attitude of this team, Peavy said. Watch what Alex went through. Were going to battle and grind this thing out to the end. You watch that attitude with a specific player (like Rios). Thats just the mentality were taking with Robin and this team.