Updated: October 1, 2013 6:54AM
BOSTON — Jake Peavy’s change of Sox changed his outlook on 2013. He went from a team buried in last place to one riding high in first.
No wonder he was beaming with anticipation about facing his former White Sox in a Red Sox uniform Saturday night.
“I did not want to leave Chicago,’’ Peavy said before Boston held on for a 4-3 victory Friday against the White Sox at Fenway Park. “It was not my choice, and I was not excited about leaving Chicago. That said, I couldn’t be any more excited to be right here right now, and this is the way it should have been. This bunch, I don’t think I could have walked into a better situation with a better bunch of guys who are a lot like me on and off the field. This is where I belong, and I’m excited.’’
There was nothing to be excited about on the South Side when Peavy was dealt in a three-way trade that brought Avisail Garcia from the Tigers and three prospects from the Red Sox on July 30. The Sox were 40-64 and smack-dab in the middle of a 10-game losing streak.
“We all, man for man, tried to own that,’’ Peavy said. “We just didn’t play the way we were capable of playing. Those first 30 or 40 games, we lost so many one-run games that very easily we could have done a few small things that would have flipped 10 or 15 games in our direction, and that probably would have got us to a different start — and I can’t see myself wearing this uniform if that [scenario] had happened.’’
Peavy, who will make his first career start against the Sox, is 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in five starts with Boston.
“I know their lineup very well,’’ Peavy said. “But they know me. It’s really going to come down to who executes better [Saturday] night.’’
Teammate Adam Dunn, Peavy’s best White Sox pal, said he will try to keep it serious because the Red Sox have a lot at stake. Dunn said his goal is to steal second “because Jake doesn’t think I can.’’
“He knows how to get me out, and I know what he’s going to try to get me out with,’’ said Dunn, who on occasion called pitches for Peavy when he was playing first base. “If he makes a mistake, I win, and if he doesn’t, he probably wins.’’
The White Sox lost the first game of a 10-game American League East road trip mainly because of a rough night for starter Hector Santiago (4-8), who walked five and couldn’t finish the fourth. He threw 101 pitches.
“It was just one of those days where you go out there and stink,’’ Santiago said.
David Ortiz broke an 0-for-23 skid with a two-run single after an RBI single by Shane Victorino in the fourth inning.
Garcia hit his second homer in two games, and Alejandro De Aza tripled in a run after Ryan Dempster (7-9) was relieved, getting the Sox within 4-3 in the seventh.
But Boston’s bullpen allowed only one hit — De Aza’s triple — and a six-game road winning streak is over.
The Sox have played better since Peavy left, having won 16 of their last 24.
Because of their starting pitching led by Chris Sale, Peavy said “that team is not far away. You’ve got some big arms in the back of the bullpen. You acquired some good position players. Obviously, Paul [Konerko] and Adam are getting older, but [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] always has money. That team’s going to be right in the thick of things. I can’t see a long rebuilding process there.’’