The White Sox had Jake Peavy at his best while facing the AL leader in earned runs allowed. It shouldn't have been this close. Alas, this game wasn't easy from Peavy's first pitch, which Michael Bourn turned on for a solo shot to give the Indians a quick 1-0 lead.
But Peavy got past it and struck out 11 Indians over seven beautiful innings, and while the White Sox never really figured out Brett Myers -- who pitched six quality innings to lower his ERA from 12.19 to 8.82 -- their two most veteran hitters gave the Sox two veteran plate appearances at a great time.
The dumpy former Sox setup man seemed to be in pretty good shape in the sixth. He erased a leadoff error that allowed Jeff Keppinger to reach by getting Alex Rios to jam himself on a hanging curveball for a 6-4-3 double play. But Adam Dunn drew a five-pitch walk to keep the inning alive, which brought Paul Konerko to the plate.
Konerko watched Myers' first four pitches, three of which were out of the zone. On a 3-1 count, Myers came at him with an 88-mph fastball, and Konerko didn't miss it, sending it over the high wall in left to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
That was just about the only time the Sox strung together two effective approaches. They had to rely on home runs again (Alejandro De Aza added a solo shot in the eighth), because they couldn't do anything with baserunners. The leadoff man reached in the third, fourth and fifth innings, and they all fell apart in different ways:
- Third inning: Fielder's choice, strikeout, groundout.
- Fourth inning: Single, strikeout, flyout, popout.
- Fifth inning: Popout, busted hit-and-run with Tyler Flowers (?), double (!), groundout.
Still, the sputtering offense gave Peavy enough support. The bulldog bounced back from Bourn's homer and a one-out single to retire 12 in a row, and he was in control the entire afternoon. He had a lot of movement against lefties, working the two-seamer back on the inside corner, and then using a riding fastball up and away.
He even lobbied to stay in the game without hurting the club. Mark Reynolds dove across the plate and poked a single through the middle with one out in the seventh, which brought Robin Ventura to the mound. It would have been a good time to lift him, given what happened in his last start against the Nationals, but Peavy came back to get Jason Giambi to fly out, and then struck out Ryan Raburn with four cutters to wrap up a tidy seven innings.
Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless eighth despite taking a tumble with two outs. He was late getting to the bag on Bourn's grounder behind first base, as Bourn beat him with a headfirst dive. Thornton accidentally made him pay for the false hustle, stepping on his hand before rolling into first-base umpire Jim Joyce. Bourn had to leave the game with a laceration on his finger, and Thornton got a groundout to end the threat.
Addison Reed then pitched around a two-out walk in the ninth by getting Giambi to fly out to deep center. He has now factored into all five victories, with four saves and a win.
- Flowers ended an 0-for-22 skid with a double, but struck out in his other two at-bats.
- It was the second time Peavy struck out 10 or more batters without a walk during his Sox career. Unlike the other game, he comes away with the win.