The top stars of today's game look like this: Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Alex Rios.
Yes, $55.5 million of ballplayers certainly earned their money tonight. Peavy threw a three-hit shutout, Dunn and Konerko went back-to-back, and Rios added three hits as the White Sox won their fourth straight game out west.
The game had the makings of a classic Oakland struggle early. Peavy and Colon went pitch-for-pitch over the first three innings -- Peavy going nine up, nine down, and Colon getting double plays in the second and third. In fact, Colon was the first pitcher to hold the Sox hitless the first time through the order.
Some Donkey Kong action changed the complexion of the game considerably in the fourth. First, Dunn teed off on the first pitch he saw, hitting a sky-high homer over the fence in right. Konerko followed with an authoritative swing on a n0-2 pitch, crushing his 399th homer to right-center to make it a 2-0 game.
The A's tried to come back on Peavy in the bottom of the inning. Jemile Weeks ended Peavy's perfect night with a first-pitch single, and he appeared to distract Peavy into walking Coco Crisp on five pitches. But he bulldogged up, getting ahead on Josh Reddick and getting a 4-6-3 double play to ease the pressure, and Yoenis Cespedes popped out to A.J. Pierzynski on the first pitch to end Oakland's biggest threat of the evening.
Peavy threw 71 of his 107 pitches for strikes, including first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 31 batters he faced. The A's started tagging him for deeper flyouts over the last three innings, but the Coliseum's dimensions gave the outfielders plenty of room.
The Sox added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth, thanks to some defensive ineptitude on Oakland's part. Brent Morel greeted former Sox farmhand Fautino De Los Santos with a ringing double off the wall, advanced to third on a high fastball Kurt Suzuki couldn't glove, and scored when Gordon Beckham dropped a single over the drawn-in infield.
Alejandro De Aza kept the rally going by poking a single through the left side (after a bunt attempt). Alexei Ramirez followd with a chopper to third, but Luke Hughes (playing his first game for Oakland) threw high to second, pulling Weeks off the bag and loading the bases.
The Sox could have blown the game open, but they could only add insurance thanks to more help. After Adam Dunn struck out and Paul Konerko hit a soft lineout to a leaping Cliff Pennington, A.J. Pierzynski hit a chopper over the mound. Weeks charged and tried to glove the short-hop to step on the bag, but he couldn't come up with it.
Pierzynski was credited with a hit, which was one of many friendly calls by the official scorer. Dayan Viciedo "singled" on a grounder that Pennington bobbled, and Pierzynski mistracked a high pop foul, which was ruled "no play." Unlike the A's, the Sox didn't follow mistakes with mistakes. Peavy picked up Pierzynski with a strikeout.
- Dunn drew a pair of walks to go along with his solo homer.
- Morel had his first really encouraging day at the plate -- a smashed double, a solid single, and a well-struck lineout to right center.
- De Los Santos failed to retire any of the four Sox he faced in his first outing against his former organization.