DETROIT -- As teammate Gordon Beckham put it, “That’s little league stuff he was doing.”
Rios collected an American League record tying six hits -- five singles and a triple -- stole two bases, drove in two and scored once in the Chicago’s 11-4 win over the American League Central Division leading Detroit Tigers Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
“That takes people like me maybe two or three weeks to get six,” teammate Adam Dunn said. “It’s a record. And it’s not just any kind of record, it’s six hits in a game and that’s pretty good.”
It’s just the 98th time in all of Major League Baseball history that a player has had six hits in a game. The record is nine set by Johnny Burnett on July 10, 1932.
Rios had three previous five-hit games in his career.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good during batting practice,” said Rios, who raised his batting average to .281. “I hadn’t felt good in either batting practice or during the games, but I’m making progress. Hopefully I can bring that consistency up again.”
On May 28 this season, Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura also had six hits in a nine-inning game.
“Alex all night was outstanding, the kind of night he had,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s one of those players, he puts the barrel on it. He hasn’t been has sharp lately, I think with everything floating around with this team, but he’s as good as anyone in the league. Tonight was indicative of that, he was hitting and running the bases great.”
Four of his six hits came off the Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander.
Verlander had never allowed four hits to a better in a single game.
“He’s the guy that you have to battle,” Rios said. “Every single at-bat is going to be a tough at-bat for obvious reasons. It feels good. I guess I put a couple of good swings, got a few bloopers, but that’s part of the game.”
Rios singled to right in the first, tripled to left-center in the third, singled twice in the eighth (one to right and the other to left) and squeaked a single past the infield in the ninth.
“I guess I got the pitches to do all those things,” Rios said. “I got a few pitches away, that I put good swings on and a few pitches in. So I got a little bit of everything.”
Rios couldn’t recall ever having six hits in one game.
“It’s fun to get six hits,” Rios said. “I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s fun. When you feel like you’re making progress it makes that feeling even better.”
He’s the fifth player in White Sox franchise history to have six hits in a nine-inning game. The last player to reach that milestone was Lance Johnson on Sept. 23, 1995.
His last hit had the White Sox fans on the edge of their seats waiting to see what the ruling was from the official scorer.
Rios’ hit a sharp grounder on the infield that handcuffed Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder.
White Sox first base coach Daryl Boston informed Rios was the ruling was a hit.
“He told me right away when I got to first so I didn’t have to think about it that much,” Rios said. “It’s all good.”
Rios has had at least one hit in eight of his last 10 games.