Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/4/12

Alex Rios quietly had a stellar first half, but the second half is now a little louder.

The latest example of that came Friday night in the Chicago White Sox's 8-6, 10-inning win over the Los Angeles Angels, when Rios' second homer of the game was a walk-off shot.

Rios is now hitting .318 with 18 homers, after looking like a bust last season, when he batted .227 with 13 homers and 44 RBI.

"That's how baseball is," Rios said of his turnaround. "It's, 'What have you done for me lately?' And it's understandable. Everybody wants their players to have good years and to live up to it. Sometimes you don't have a good year. You try to have a good year every year, but it doesn't always work out the way you want it. It just doesn't click. It doesn't mean you're not trying. It's part of the game, and we have to just deal with it."

Dealing with it meant dealing with boos, a shouting match with general manager Ken Williams, and a father back in Puerto Rico who was obviously worried about his son. Then there was the contract that Rios was still carrying when the Sox acquired him through the waiver wire back in 2009. Rios had a six-year, $64 million deal, and he was still owed $12.5 million for this season and $13 million for each of the next two years.

Rios, however, said that his contract has never put too much weight on his shoulders.

"No, when I signed my contract, that was it," Rios said. "When you sign a long-term contract, you don't focus on (the money). You focus on winning because it's all about winning.

"You already have what you wanted. I was more worried about not contributing to the team and helping the team. You just focus on winning. When it doesn't happen, that's when you get worried."

His latest heroics helped the Sox keep the lead in the Central Division over Detroit, maintaining the 2 1/2-game cushion. As far as Rios was concerned, wins like that make being overlooked for the All-Star Game last month seem like no big deal.

"It's something nice to have, a good experience for yourself, but I'd rather focus on my team," Rios said. "I've been to two All-Star Games already. I needed those four days to rest my body."

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