OAKLAND -- It's not often that a team's No. 3 hitter is lifted for a pinch-hitter for with two outs in the ninth, representing the tying run at the plate. But that's what happened to Alex Rios in Tuesday's 2-0 loss to the A's, as manager Robin Ventura used Adam Dunn against hard-throwing Oakland closer Grant Balfour.
With an 11-game hitting streak, Rios was one of the hottest hitters in the White Sox lineup. But Ventura wanted to take a shot at tying the game with Kosuke Fukudome on first base, and went to his top slugger.
Before Wednesday's series and road trip finale, Ventura admitted it's a delicate situation making the move to take out an established player such as Rios.
"I don't necessarily like to do that, but in that spot, you have Paulie [Konerko] coming up next," Ventura said. "You don't know how many chances you have for a guy who has a chance to hit one out.
"More of Dunner's thing. You don't like doing it. I don't see myself doing it too often. But last night was one of those rare things."
Rios admitted that he expected to hit in that ninth-inning situation. He also supported Ventura's move, stating the goal is to do whatever it takes to help the White Sox win.
"He wants to play, and I totally understand that," said Ventura of Rios. "I would want him to feel that way. Nobody likes being pinch-hit for, or having a guy step in for him. But in certain situations, it happens."