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Jake Peavy pitches 3-hit shutout as White Sox squeeze Indians, 1-0

It was good day for Sox starter Jake Peavy. He signed two-year contract extensiwhis first Gold Glove. | Carlos Osorio~AP

It was a good day for Sox starter Jake Peavy. He signed a two-year contract extension and won his first Gold Glove. | Carlos Osorio~AP

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Updated: August 28, 2011 12:21AM

With Jake Peavy in mind, Friday starter Phil Humber was pushed back a day in the rotation and Gavin Floyd was moved up to face the Cleveland Indians today on four days rest. With Peavy still in comeback-rehab mode, the White Sox braintrust wanted Humber available in the bullpen.

Just in case.

“We’re protecting our butts — you can say that,” Guillen said before the game.

There was no need to worry.

Making his second start since last July, Peavy, the 2007 National League Cy Young winner, was in Cy Young form against the AL Central-leading Indians, pitching a three-hit shutout to lead the Sox to an important 1-0 victory. Peavy allowed three hits, walked none and struck out eight, including four of the last five batters he faced.

‘‘It means the world to me me,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘I feel so blessed for the opportunity after you struggle to come back. More important, it’s a 1-0 win, a great win for the boys.”

The Sox finish their two-game set with the Indians tonight.

‘‘It was a huge win for us,”
said designated hitter Adam Dunn, whose sacrifice fly in the first inning provided the only run Peavy needed. ‘‘I haven’t seen Jake throw like that in two, three years. He’s got his arm strength back and he’s got his

Peavy (1-0) had very good movement on a fastball that touched 94 mph in the ninth inning, moved it around in the strike zone and had command of a good changeup. He pitched ahead in the count and moved his fastball around in the strike zone.

“I tip my hat to this man,” Guillen said. “To come back, a Cy Young
winner [with a guaranteed contract], he came back to help this ballclub. This guy went all over
the U.S. seeing doctors, making
rehab assignments to do what you
saw today.’’

Indians right-hander Justin Masterson (5-2) was almost Peavy’s equal. He held the Sox to five hits in eight innings.

Center fielder Brent Lillibridge made the defensive play of the game, catching Orlando Cabrera’s fly to the warning track on the run.

Pierre gave the Sox a spark to open the first, slapping a double down the left-field line, advancing to third on Omar Vizquel’s single
to right and scoring on Dunn’s sacrifice fly.

The Sox also got the leadoff man on in the second and third but didn’t score. Gordon Beckham and Pierre left A.J. Pierzynski (single) in scoring position in the second, and Vizquel (walk) was thrown out stealing on a 3-2 called strikeout pitch to Dunn.

Lillibridge hustled out a double to lead off the fifth, setting up a promising opportunity for the Sox to add to their 1-0 lead, but Lillibridge was thrown out trying to steal third after Beckham chased a pitch out of the strike zone for strike three.

“One of the weaknesses of this team is we’ve done a poor job of getting the ball in the strike zone,’’ hitting coach Greg Walker said Wednesday. “It’s hard enough to get a strike, much less swinging at balls. That said, there are a lot of pitchers who give you the illusion of it being a strike.

‘‘But if we have one overall failure as an offensive team, it’s the quality of pitches that we swing at.”

Peavy fanned Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera to end the game. He threw 111 pitches.

‘‘It was fun to be out there and have that closer mentality,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘It’s your game.’’

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