Jake Peavy has had big problems with baserunners this year, as he entered the game with the game's worst strand rate for any pitcher with 90 innings to his name.
He went a long way to correct that flaw tonight, and he did it without his best stuff. Despite inefficiency (108 pitches) and more walks than usual (three, along with seven hits) over his six innings of work, Peavy managed to escape with a quality start. The Mariners converted only one of nine baserunners, with Miguel Olivo providing the other run via solo shot.
Peavy compensated by going to his off-speed stuff more as the game went on, especially his changeup. In fact, he used four of them to strike out the fastball-lovin' Olivo later in the game.
The Mariners had problems with swings and misses all night long, as they struck out 15 times.
Brent Lillibridge had his own problems putting the bat on the ball. He struck out three times, but he made his contact count.
With the game tied at 2 in the fifth, Lillibridge followed up a Juan Pierre bunt single by burning Charlie Furbush for a two-run homer to left. It was his 12th homer of the year, meaning that he now has more of them than Adam Dunn.
Like Dunn, the Sox should've contributed more offense tonight. They scored two runs in the first on a bloop double by Alex Rios and a bloop single by Alexei Ramirez. But with runners on second and third, Tyler Flowers struck out looking, and Alejandro De Aza grounded out.
In the ninth, they loaded the bases with nobody out -- but Lillibridge and Konerko popped out to shallow right, and Rios grounded out to second to keep it a two-run game.
Fortunately, Peavy and the bullpen didn't need much help. Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Chris Sale combined for three scoreless innings, including a nice escape by Crain. He came on with two on and two out and walked Olivo (which is hard to do) to load the bases. But he came back to strike out Kyle Seager to end the threat, then came back with two more strikeouts during a 1-2-3 eighth.