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Rios takes issue with Tribe closer Perez

Rios takes issue with Tribe closer Perez

Rios takes issue with Tribe closer Perez
CHICAGO -- No strong bonds of friendship exist between White Sox right fielder Alex Rios and Cleveland closer Chris Perez.

In fact, the two are not even casual acquaintances.

And don't look for any pleasantries to be exchanged between the two next week at Progressive Field after their angry exchange at the close of Thursday's 7-5 Indians victory in Chicago. Perez was pressed into service after Adam Dunn's two-run, ninth-inning homer off of Dan Wheeler and needed to sneak a called third strike past A.J. Pierzynski and induce a Rios grounder to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to record his ninth save.

After the borderline strike to Pierzynski went his way, Perez celebrated with a strong fist pump on the mound. When Rios made contact on his game-ending play, Perez once again started yelling, and Rios didn't understand what he was doing or appreciate the actions. He had more than a few words for Perez as he was running back to the White Sox dugout, but the situation didn't come close to escalating into something more.

"Well, I don't know what was wrong with him," said Rios with a wry smile. "He just started yelling for no reason. I don't know why he started yelling, and that's it.

"When I hit that ground ball, he was yelling when [Cabrera] was throwing to first. He was yelling the whole way. I couldn't tell what he was saying. He was just staring and saying something."

According to Perez, he's usually pretty fired up after getting the third out for victory. He yelled as he usually does and acknowledged that Rios might have thought he was yelling at him, but Perez said he wasn't.

"I was yelling at my teammates. I was happy for the win," Perez said. "He might've taken exception to it, but I wasn't yelling anything at him.

"As soon as he hit the bag, he turned and looked right at me. I was like, 'What? The game's over.' It's a big win for us. We're in first place. We don't play well here, so to win a series on the road going into a big weekend series for us, yeah, it's a big win for us."

Rios is 2-for-9 with a walk-off grand slam in his career against Perez. That pretty much covers any interaction between the two.

"Other than that, he's a competitor. I'm a competitor," Perez said. "He's on a different team. I'm not friends with him. I don't know him personally. I've just been playing against him. That's it. If he's mad, whatever. I don't care."

This moment could be filed away for extra motivation against Perez and the Indians, with the White Sox scheduled to play 13 head-to-head games against the American League Central leaders. Rios just wanted to focus on playing baseball after their second loss in three games to the Indians, not on any lingering hard feelings from Perez's game-winning celebration.

"If he was celebrating, that was not the right way to do it," Rios said. "But like I said, I have no clue what he was saying. He was just staring and screaming."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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