ARLINGTON, Texas – The Rangers acquired Alex Rios in mid-season to provide offense to help them make the playoffs.
He did just that in Monday’s AL Wild Card Tiebreaker. But Rios’ RBI double in the sixth came up just short of being a home run, much like the Rangers came up just short of making the postseason in a 5-2 loss.
“We fought. We fought very hard,” Rios said. “As of right now we just have to be honest to ourselves and knowing that we gave it all and we fought until the end. It didn’t work out for us but it is what it is.”
Rios’ blast hit off the upper portion of the high wall in left field, scoring Elvis Andrus from second base. It cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-2 at the time, but it wasn’t enough to crack Rays starter David Price who earned a complete game victory.
“He was locating his pitches very well,” Rios said. “He was on tonight. He didn’t allow us to come through offensively. He just was on.”
The man Rios ostensibly replaced in the lineup, Nelson Cruz, went 0-for-4 in his return from a 50-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.
Rios hit .280 with 25 RBI and six homers in the 46 games prior to Monday he played with the Rangers since being traded from the White Sox on Aug. 9.
He helped start the Rangers’ seven-game win streak to force Game 163 by hitting for the cycle a week ago. “It’s been amazing the whole time that I’ve been here,” Rios said. “We’ve played good baseball with a lot of energy, enthusiasm. And we have the will to win, that’s the most important thing that this team had. When you play on teams like this it’s always a good thing to come to the field and enjoy your time.”
The Rangers can enjoy more time with Rios since he has two more seasons left on his contract. He seems to be looking forward to a longer stay in Arlington, too.
“Of course, the time that I spent here was just a short period of time, and it’s just a preview of what we can do next year,” Rios said. “I’m very excited to spend a whole season with the team and see what we can do. Things didn’t work out for us this year, but next year it’s another story.”