Rios' all-out slide at second a winner
September, 17, 2012
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastWhite Sox baserunner Alex Rios upended the Tigers' Omar Infante to break up a double play.
CHICAGO -- As Chicago White Sox right fielder Alex Rios sprinted to second base in the fifth inning on Monday, his only thought was to slide into the bag as hard as possible.
Dayan Viciedo had hit a grounder to
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and Rios was making his way to second base as Peralta tossed the ball to second baseman Omar Infante. Infante turned to throw to first base to attempt the double play, and just as he was delivering the ball, Rios slid into the bag and connected with him. Infante flew into the air and landed face-first into the ground.
Infante’s throw was misdirected with the contact, and the ball bounced to first baseman Prince Fielder. Fielder was unable to scoop it and got past him. The White Sox scored two runs, including what would become the game-winner in a 5-4 victory, on the play.
“I’m trying to slide hard into the base,” Rios said. “If he stays in the base line, I’m going to get him. But I thought it was a clean slide and every middle infielder knows that if they stay in the base line, something like that is going to happen.
“We scored two runs on that play and ended up winning the game, so it was a big play.”
Infante disagreed that it was a clean play. When asked if he was spiked, Infante said, “Yeah, spike.”
Yet, Infante wouldn’t make an excuse.
“It’s hard to do,” Infante said. “It’s hard to throw once he hit me. I have no excuse, I have to make the throw. I feel bad because I’ve made a lot of errors knowing the team needed different.”
Rios did say he was concerned about Infante after the two collided.
“We, as players, we don’t want to hurt anyone,” Rios said. “We’re trying to do our job in the best way we can. That’s it.”
Rios’ aggressive play earned praise from his manager and teammates.
“That was the game,” White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn said. “It goes to show everybody is giving everything they have. How many times do you see a guy slide or pull up and this or that? Alex went in hard and essentially won us a game.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said, “Again, if you play the right way eventually that stuff catches up with you. Rio plays the game hard. That's a big factor. That got us the runs.”