Rios' 3 hits, 3 RBIs help White Sox sweep Mariners

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Rios' 3 hits, 3 RBIs help White Sox sweep Mariners

SEATTLE -- Alex Rios has been putting in an effort to really concentrate on his approach at the plate and improve the quality of his at-bats.That work paid off Sunday when Rios got three hits and drove in three runs to help the Chicago White Sox completed a series sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 7-4 victory.Rios hit a tying, two-run triple in the sixth and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kosuke Fukudome to put the White Sox ahead for good.Rios and Fukudome added RBI singles in the eighth against Tom Wilhelmsen."I'm just focusing on my approach right now," Rios said. "I want to swing at good pitches, have a good approach and besides that nothing else."Manager Robin Ventura has noticed over the attention to Rios' approach paying off the last few games."It's something he's kind of been working on and he just looks very comfortable at the plate and confident," Ventura said.The win polished off a rejuvenating series sweep of the Mariners after coming to Seattle as losers of four of their last five games. The White Sox have won 19 of their last 22 games against the Mariners including their second straight sweep in Seattle."We played pretty good these three games," Rios said. "It's a confidence boost to us. We've been playing good. We just need to keep doing what we're doing."A day after Phil Humber pitched a perfect game for the White Sox, John Danks (2-2) went six innings for the win. Hector Santiago pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season.Seattle starter Kevin Millwood (0-1) took a 4-2 lead into the sixth. Adam Dunn drew a leadoff walk, Paul Konerko singled and after a groundout, Rios cleared the bases with a triple to the wall in right-center field.

"When you give it up like that you have to come right back and answer," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We didn't do that."The White Sox took a 2-0 lead in the third on a double by Alexei Ramirez that left fielder Casper Wells misplayed for an error, and an RBI single by Dunn.Seattle tied it in the bottom half. Chone Figgins led off with a walk and Ichiro Suzuki singled, setting up an RBI single by Jesus Montero and an RBI double by Alex Liddi.Fukudome walked in the fourth and moved up on a wild pitch, but was thrown out at the plate by Suzuki on Brent Morel's single to right field.Miguel Olivo and Wells hit consecutive singles to lead off the fourth. With Brendan Ryan attempting to bunt, the infield was pulled up when Danks tried a pickoff throw at first that Dunn never saw coming. Danks' error allowed Olivo to score and Dustin Ackley drove in a run with a grounder for a 4-2 lead."We had a pick play on and I think we left (Dunn) out. I don't know," Danks said. "... It's embarrassing but it happens."Danks managed to settle in after the fourth inning as Seattle only managed to draw two walks off Danks in the fifth and sixth innings."He grinds. That's the kind of pitcher he is," Ventura said of Danks. "...That's just the way he pitches and he has a lot of guts when he goes out there."NOTES
Seattle 1B Justin Smoak got a scheduled day off and Liddi started in his place. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura gave CF Alejandro De Aza the day off with Fukudome starting in his place. De Aza had played every inning of the first 14 games of the year in center for Chicago. De Aza pinch-ran for DH Konerko in the eighth. ... White Sox reliever Addison Reed pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out the side.Box scoreCopyright2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”