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Jake Peavy enjoys blowout after all

Sox starter Jake Peavy went 61/3 innings pick up his fifth victory. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Sox starter Jake Peavy went 61/3 innings to pick up his fifth victory. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 1, 2012 12:48PM

Jake Peavy admitted he freaked out when he saw the Wrigley Field flags blowing out. Even the Cubs’ tame lineup threatens more bite on such windy days.

The hot sun on a 91-degree day didn’t bother Peavy quite as much. He stayed around for 100 pitches in the White Sox’ 6-0 victory Sunday, making sure the breeze wouldn’t matter by striking out seven and allowing four balls to be hit out of the infield.

“Just keeping barrels off the ball’’ is how Peavy put it.

And if he didn’t do enough to prove his manhood by overcoming fears under adverse conditions by allowing three hits one start after his meltdown against the Tigers, Peavy knocked in the fourth run with a fielder’s-choice ground out in the seventh, hustled to third on Alejandro De Aza’s single and raced home on Gordon Beckham’s sacrifice fly to medium right.

All of the extra legwork came with 96 pitches under his belt.

Peavy faced two Cubs in the seventh before Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Addison Reed finished off the victory and three-game sweep that ran the Sox’ winning streak to four, evened their record at 21-21 and — in case you’re watching standings before Memorial Day — narrowed the gap behind the first-place Indians in the American League Central to 21/2 games.

Peavy hopes fan interest generated by the sweep shows at the box office in upcoming home games and makes it easier for management to be buyers and not sellers when the trade deadline rolls around in late July.

“If we’re going to stay together as a team and not have some of these pieces traded away, we’re going to have to have some fan support and play good baseball,’’ Peavy said. “I hope our fans feed off this, and with school getting out, they’ll show up at the ballpark.

“I certainly don’t want [to be traded]. This is where I want to play. I love [manager] Robin [Ventura] and his staff and my teammates.’’

He didn’t love what he saw driving to Wrigley Field, however.

‘’[Greg] Maddux always said if the lake was calm, it wasn’t a good day to pitch because the wind would be blowing out,’’ Peavy said. “If it was choppy, it was probably a good day to pitch. ‘’

Peavy drove to the park with Adam Dunn, who, as a hitter, liked what he saw.

“He goes, ‘Look at that lake, Peaves. It’s glass.’ And I’m going, ‘Oh, Lord.’ And the wind was blowing out.’’

Peavy was so rattled by the conditions that he feared taking batting practice, knowing if he hit one out, the conditions were really going to be against him. He appeared more nervous than usual before the game.

“All the boys coming in from batting practice said, ‘Keep it down, Peaves.’ ’’

After Beckham homered to left against left-hander Paul Maholm leading off the fourth, Dunn got one up in the air and into the back rows of the left-center-field bleachers for the Sox’ second back-to-back homer trick in two games. Catcher Tyler Flowers also launched a solo shot, the Sox’ eighth homer of the series, to give the Sox a 3-0 lead in the fifth.

Peavy (5-1, 2.39 ERA) improved to 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last five starts against the Cubs, and the Sox have won 14 of their last 18 against them. Their 53-22 interleague record since 2008 is the best in baseball.

“Jake was good,’’ Flowers said. “The game plan was quality strikes early [in counts]. He executed that … and made pitches throughout pretty much every at-bat.’’

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