DETROIT -- Alex Rios figures he owes Alexei Ramirez a dinner.
After all, it was the White Sox shortstop’s block that landed Rios in the record books.
Ramirez perfectly shielded Rios’ grounder in the ninth inning Tuesday night and it wound up going for a hit, the outfielder’s sixth of the game.
Rios tied a franchise and American League-record for a nine-inning game with a six-hit performance as the White Sox rolled the Detroit Tigers 11-4 at Comerica Park.
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Rios may have also benefited from a call from the official scorer, who could have determined Prince Fielder made an error on the play.
But with the way things have gone, Rios didn’t have any trouble accepting the decision. Rios, who singled five times and tripled, raised his average from .267 to .281.
“Why not?” Rios said. “It’s all good.”
The effort that allowed Rios to become the fifth player in franchise history to notch six hits in a nine-inning game had some Herculean aspects to it. Rios is the first player to ever have four hits in a game off Justin Verlander.
Rios also singled three times in the game’s final two innings, over which period the White Sox scored 10 times.
Teammate Adam Dunn, who went 3-for-5 with a home run behind Rios, was impressed with the achievement.
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“That takes people like me two, maybe three weeks to get six,” Dunn said. “Yeah, it’s a record. I don’t care what kind of record it is. It’s six hits in a game, that’s pretty good.”
Rios said the output is a sign of the progress he believes he has recently made.
The right fielder has slumped over the last month and Sunday manager Robin Ventura said it could be because Rios has often been mentioned in trade rumors of late.
“It hasn’t been sharp lately,” Ventura said. “I think with everything kind of floating around about this team. He’s as good as anyone in the league. Tonight was indicative of that. He was hitting, running the bases great.”
Rios said the rumors haven’t slowed him down. He believes he’s about to get hot again and likes the results against Verlander, who had retired him in 25 of their previous 33 at-bats.
“It seems like I’m making progress and hopefully can bring that consistency up again,” Rios said. “He’s a guy you have to battle. Every single is going to be a tough at-bat for obvious reasons. But it feels good. I guess put a couple of good swings and got a few bloopers, but it’s part of the game.”