Chicago, IL – With the Chicago White Sox reeling, losing five of six games and seeing their lead in the AL Central shrink to one game over the Detroit Tigers, Alex Rios delivered a career performance at a perfect time.
Rios knocked in a career-best six runs on two home runs and the White Sox topped the Minnesota Twins, 6-2, in the rubber match of a three-game set.
"He's a great player," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He brings it every day."
The Tigers won Wednesday night, 7-1, against the Cleveland Indians to remain a game behind the White Sox.
"It's so much fun when you come to the field with a purpose," Rios said. "The next couple of weeks are going to be so much fun because of how close the race is."
Starting pitching had plagued the White Sox during their slump, as their starters posted a 7.47 earned run average over their last seven starts heading into Wednesday.
But, a night after Jose Quintana gave up seven runs in 1 1/3 innings, Jake Peavy (10-10) held the Twins to one run on five hits and a walk to pick up his first win since Aug. 1.
P.J. Walters (2-3), making his first start since June 13 because of a shoulder injury, surrendered six runs on five hits and three walks in five-plus innings.
"I felt like I proved that I can pitch here," Walters said. "I obviously got hurt and it set me back a little ways, but being able to come back and prove that I'm healthy and finish the year strong and help the team win some games."
Rios put the White Sox on the board in the first inning with his second career grand slam. DeWayne Wise singled and Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn walked to load the bases. After Paul Konerko popped out, Rios slammed a hanging curve ball deep into the left-field stands.
The Twins picked up a run in the third inning after Matt Carson and Pedro Florimon delivered back-to-back, one-out singles. Peavy plunked Ben Revere to load the bases and Eduardo Escobar delivered a sacrifice fly.
Rios struck again in the sixth after Konerko worked a leadoff walk. Rios crushed a 2-1 fastball over the center-field fence to give Chicago a 6-1 lead.
Chicago stranded the bases loaded in the seventh inning, but its bullpen was able to close out the win.
Brett Myers and Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, respectively, before Carson scored Ryan Doumit with a sacrifice fly against Addison Reed in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Chicago has won nine of its last 10 home games ... The White Sox are 9-2 in their last 11 games against Minnesota ... Chicago went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven ... Minnesota went 2-for-8 and left seven runners on base.