CHICAGO — One day after being yanked from a game for not hustling, Alex Rios bounced back in a big way.
Rios hit a grand slam, drove in five runs and had three hits to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 10-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
Rios had been in a 2-for-20 slump. He also ended a homerless drought of 120 at-bats.
He insisted his big day had nothing to do with being pulled from the game on Friday.
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“I go about my business the same way every day,” the right fielder said.
Friday night, White Sox manager Robin Ventura benched him for not hustling while grounding into a double play to end the fifth inning.
Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons bobbled the grounder and Rios likely would have beaten the throw to first, but he didn’t run hard out of the box. Instead of a run scoring, the White Sox were out of the inning.
“We expect more than that,” Ventura said Friday night after that series-opening 6-4 loss to Atlanta. “We’re not starting the second half that way. It was simple. That’s what happens when you don’t run.”
Before Saturday’s game, Rios admitted he was wrong for not running hard. He said it was caused mostly by frustration, but complained that Ventura never talked to him personally to explain why he was benched.
The outfielder has been the subject of trade rumors. With the White Sox (38-56) going nowhere, his big game on Saturday only heightened the speculation.
Rios is owed about $20 million through 2014. He’s hitting .275 with 12 home runs and 47 runs batted in.