After winning the longest game of the year on Friday, the White Sox took tonight off. Not from an effort standpoint, necessarily -- they just didn't really seem to think things through.
Then again, Jake Peavy's power of personality can compel his superiors into vapor lock once in a while.
Peavy wasn't at his best through seven innings. His biggest problem was Nate Jones' issue on Friday -- poorly located fastballs to Alcides Escobar, who doubled his season total in homers with a pair off Peavy. Both gave the Royals the lead, as he hit a two-run shot in the third and a solo shot in the seventh. Careless pitch selection, worse execution.
Beyond Escobar, Peavy narrowly escaped doom in the sixth when Alex Rios caught Salvador Perez's deep drive in the right field corner with the bases loaded to end the inning. Through seven innings, he'd given up nine hits. He wasn't exactly cruising at any point, is what I'm saying.
Still, after a lengthy discussion with Robin Ventura and Don Cooper in the dugout, Peavy and his hubris took the mound in the eighth inning at 110 pitches. It only got dumber from there.
Billy Butler reached on an infield single off Peavy's leg. Peavy stayed in. Left-handed Mike Moustakas singled to right. Peavy stayed in. Only when Jeff Francoeur singled to left to make it a 5-3 game did Ventura finally feel inspired to pull Peavy, but it was already three batters too late. The Royals added a sac fly off Hector Santiago to put the game further out of reach, and Jonathan Broxton got three groundouts for the three-run save.
But it was an underwhelming game before Ventura went AWOL about Peavy. Perhaps because Luke Hochevar started for the Royals. Kansas City is now 6-6 when Hochevar starts against the White Sox. Against everybody else, they're 43-58. For whatever reason, the Sox tend to not maximize their opportunities against him.
The third inning is a good example. Gordon Beckham drew a four-pitch walk with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Alejandro De Aza's double to deep left, which gave the Sox a 1-0 lead. But then, for some reason, De Aza went for third on Kevin Youkilis' grounder to short, and Escobar threw him out easily. Hochevar walked Dunn, but got Paul Konerko to ground out to end the threat.
The Sox finally mounted their only sustained rally on the night in the sixth -- but it started with Hochevar's last two batters of the game. Adam Dunn led off with the White Sox's longest homer of the season, a 451-foot blast to center.
Konerko followed with a single to left, and that was it for Hochevar. In came Aaron Row, who retired the next two batters. But he couldn't do the same to Dayan Viciedo, who got down and drilled a drive to the right-center gap for his first career triple, which tied the game.
The Sox had an opportunity to tag Crow again in the seventh when Gordon Beckham led off with a single. But Ventura proceeded to play it safe when Ned Yost called for Jose Mijares to face Alejandro De Aza, and the situation played out exactly the way Yost hoped. De Aza bunted Beckham to second, which left a base open to walk Kevin Youkilis, bringing Dunn to the plate for a lefty-lefty advantage. Dunn struck out, and then Yost called for Greg Holland, who got Konerko to ground out to third to end the threat. The Royals took the lead the next inning, and it was all downhill from there.
When Yost outmaneuvers you, it might not be your night. Even if it is your special day. Happy 45th, Robin.
- Alexei Ramirez saved Peavy's ERA from more scarring when he made a fantastic diving catch on a liner up the middle to end the eighth.
- Dunn now has the six longest homers of the season.