Rios not letting haters derail brilliant start as Sox rout Jays
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org April 17, 2013 7:52PM
Updated: April 17, 2013 11:22PM
TORONTO — Blue Jays fans can boo all they want when former Jay Alex Rios comes to bat for the White Sox.
They can shine a green laser pointer on his chest, as they did when he stood in the batter’s box Tuesday night.
Nothing about the rude treatment seems to shake Rios, who continued his fabulous start to the 2013 season on Wednesday night when he unloaded a 438-foot home run to left-center field in the sixth inning of a 7-0 Sox victory.
As usual, Rios was asked about it afterward and said nothing to further incite the Rogers Centre faithful, who went home in an unhappier mood than Rios did after their team lost for the second straight night.
‘‘Those kind of questions are getting kind of old,’’ Rios said when asked about the Toronto hecklers. ‘‘Every time we go on the road, you get this kind of treatment, you know? It’s no different here. The way I see it, it’s another team we have to come and beat. It’s no different than playing Kansas City, Boston or any other team.’’
Rios’ homer was his fifth of the season. He reached base for the 20th time in 21 games dating to last season.
It was his seventh homer and 16th RBI against his former team.
‘‘You hear it. I don’t quite understand it,’’ said Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose complaint to the umpires Tuesday about the laser pointer sent security into the stands looking for a culprit. ‘‘They pay for their tickets, so they can do what they want.
‘‘But I find it odd [the Blue Jays] let him go [on waivers when the Sox claimed him in 2009]. It’s not like he demanded it.’’
Rios’ homer, off a changeup from left-hander J.A. Happ, was a monster shot, but Tyler Flowers’ in the second inning was equally impressive, carrying 421 feet to right-center. Flowers’ gave the Sox a 3-0 lead, more than enough for Jose Quintana (1-0), who pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings for his first win.
‘‘Hopefully this game will get us going,’’ Rios said.
Ace Chris Sale pitches against the Jays’ R.A Dickey on Thursday night with a chance to even the Sox’ record at .500 and give them a 4-6 road trip after an 0-5 start in Washington and Cleveland.
Jesse Crain pitched 1 1/3 innings and Donnie Veal pitched the ninth as the Sox shut out the Jays in Toronto for the first time since June 1, 2007. But Quintana was the pitching story.
‘‘I felt really good with the command of my fastball from the first inning on,’’ said Quintana, who has had one bad inning in three starts. ‘‘That allowed me to expand a little bit and use the other pitches as well, mix them in. The command of the fastball allowed me to do everything else.’’
Quintana hasn’t allowed a run in 13 2/3 innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.55 while allowing five hits and two walks and striking out seven.
‘‘He’s really been doing his homework, and we’ve been communicating a little more what he wants to do,’’ said Flowers, Quintana’s catcher. ‘‘He pretty much executed everything he wanted to. We were trying to establish the fastball early and then work from there.’’
Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to seven games and delivered a sacrifice fly in the seventh — as did Jeff Keppinger — for two more runs for the Sox, who had played in games decided by three runs or fewer in 13 of their previous 14 outings.