After the White Sox struck out in order in the bottom of the first, Paul Konerko started the second with a single, and A.J. Pierzynski drilled a line drive off the right field foul pole to give Jake Peavy a 2-1 lead.
That gave the combination of Pierzynski and Konerko 22 RBI on the season. The rest of the team had 16. So while the lead was nice, it looked like the Sox were going to continue the run of their two-man show for the immediate future.
But lo and behold, the rest of the offense stepped up, and Peavy held the Orioles down. The result was a palate-cleansing victory after two frustrating losses.
Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn teamed up to break open the game in the sixth. Beckham bounced a single through the left side to drive in Alex Rios, but he ended up on second when Nolan Reimold fumbled the exchange in left. That almost looked costly, because it allowed Tommy Hunter to intentionally walk Alejandro De Aza (who had homered earlier in the game) and bring Brent Morel to the plate with the bases loaded.
Sure enough, Morel couldn't put the bat on a couple of unimpressive breaking balls, foul-tipping strike three into the catcher's mitt. With Dunn coming to the plate, Buck Showalter called on LOOGY Troy Patton.
That seemed like sound baseball strategy, especially when Patton got ahead on Dunn 1-2. But Dunn somehow found a swing that poked a line drive toward the left field line. His double cleared the bases to give Peavy an 8-1 lead, and it was smooth sailing the rest of the night.
Peavy proved the onslaught to be excess. He threw seven sterling innings, allowing just the one run on four hits. He didn't walk anybody, and struck out eight.
And even on the run-scoring double he allowed in the second inning, it's hard to find him at fault. Peavy threw Endy Chavez an 0-2 fastball at eye level, and Chavez tomahawked a line drive to the right field wall. That swing shouldn't have worked, but it did. That'll happen.
Only one other runner reached scoring position on Peavy the rest of the night, and it wasn't his fault. In the fifth inning Morel couldn't contain a grounder that bounced off his body. Instead of a double play, that put runners on first and second with one out, and the tying run at the plate. But Peavy got Nick Markakis to pop out, and Adam Jones to ground out to short (on a sweet play by Alexei Ramirez) to end the Orioles' last real threat.
Ultimately, the defense helped Peavy and White Sox pitching more than it hurt. Ramirez made two outstanding plays to his left, and then one up the middle to make up for his own error. A.J. Pierzynski completed a strike-him-out-throw-him-out, and also gunned down a runner at third when Chris Davis ran on a pitch in the dirt. It might have been a good decision for Davis had the ball not hit J.J. Hardy to stay right in front of Pierzynski.
- Rios came through with the bases loaded, delivering a well-struck sac fly to right. Given his problems with runners on third over the past year-plus, this should be recognized.
- Ramirez drew his first walk of the season, meaning every White Sox starter has one now.