video thumbnail

White Sox put up a six-spot in the fourth

CLEVELAND -- If Jake Peavy needed a good omen of positive things to come on Wednesday, all he had to do was turn on the television around lunch time.

Peavy would have then witnessed a replay of Alabama's 2012 BCS Title game thrashing of LSU. And anyone who knows Peavy understands that Alabama football is right below his family and helping the White Sox win and slightly above playing the guitar in regard to his passions.

Then again, with the dominant way Peavy has pitched during the current campaign, he pretty much makes his own good fortune. In the series finale of this four-game set against the Indians, Peavy gave up one run over seven innings during the an 8-1 White Sox shellacking of the first-place Indians at Progressive Field following a one-hour, four-minute rain delay.

That's right, a seven-run margin for a team that had its last seven games decided by two runs or fewer. Three or four would have been fine for Peavy on this night, but the White Sox (15-17) continued to pile on.

It was a perfectly designed comfort zone presented to Peavy, who was able to depart at 101 pitches after hurling back-to-back complete games against Oakland and Boston and then elevating to 122 pitches during his last trip to the mound in Detroit Friday.

"You have 30-something [starts] like [Wednesday], and it would be a perfect world," Peavy said. "The team played outstanding tonight.

"They swung the bats. It's big when you get runs early. You come out being aggressive when you get those first two and then they put a lot on the board and you try to throw strikes."

Adam Dunn got the White Sox started with a 425-foot, two-run blast to right-center in the first inning on a 1-0 pitch from Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez (2-2). Dunn has 10 home runs this season, leaving him one short of last year's entire total, and his 375 lifetime clouts leave Dunn one away from Carlton Fisk and a tie for 68th place all-time.

The White Sox slugger also has one strikeout in each of the last 36 games he has played, leaving him one short of Bill Stoneman's record set since 1918. But even if Dunn doesn't feel he has hit stride, the White Sox are thrilled with his production.

"I don't feel bad," said Dunn, who has a team-high 25 RBIs. "I don't feel like I'm on fire by any means."

"Those balls he's hitting, he hit a few in the last few days that you see him getting his timing on this trip," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "In Detroit, he hit a big one. Every once in a while, he's going to strike out, but you take that. The at-bats over the course of the trip are good at-bats. You realize he has that kind of power."

Six more runs crossed the plate in the fourth inning with the White Sox sending 10 men to the plate. A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Eduardo Escobar each singled home runs, Gordon Beckham chipped in a sacrifice fly and Alejandro De Aza singled home two more.

"Gomez just couldn't throw strikes," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta of his starter. "When you're not overpowering, you're really not going to get away with it up here. They made him pay for it."

From that fourth-inning outburst moving forward, Peavy (4-1) pitched on cruise control, dominating like the Crimson Tide defense against Les Miles' crew back in January. He scattered seven hits with one walk, striking out five.

Over a team-high 52 1/3 innings this season, Peavy has yielded 35 hits to go with seven walks and 44 strikeouts. It's now almost impossible for Ventura to talk about the injured, inconsistent Peavy of the past three seasons because Peavy has returned to his previous San Diego form as one of the game's top starters.

"There's not much more I can say about him because he's done everything," said Ventura of his ace, who threw 69 of his 101 pitches for strikes. "He's professional. He gives us a lot of energy every time he pitches."

"We did hit some balls hard at people, but we weren't as aggressive," Acta said. "Peavy was very aggressive. He just kept pounding the strike zone and we didn't do much about it."

About the only moment of difficulty for Peavy until the Indians broke through in the seventh came in the second, when he gave up singles to Travis Hafner and Shin-Soo Choo sandwiched around a Carlos Santana strikeout. Michael Brantley ripped a 1-1 pitch up the middle following the two hits, but Peavy caught the line drive near his midsection and easily doubled off Choo.

When asked if he caught that shot at the heal of his glove, Peavy smiled and pointed to his chest.

"No, I kind of got it right here in the bottom of the chest," Peavy said. "It didn't get into my glove until the ball rolled in it."

After losing four of their first five on this road trip to Detroit and Cleveland, the White Sox won the final two from the Indians (17-13) and moved back to within three games of first place. They return for five at home against the Royals and Tigers, hoping to build on this American League Central success and improve their 5-9 mark at U.S. Cellular Field.

"To be a good team, you have to play well at home," Dunn said. "Hopefully, we can start doing that Friday and keep the momentum going. But we played so bad [in Monday's doubleheader], we needed to at least split the series."

MLB.com Comments