White Sox’ bats perk up for Jake Peavy in 4th straight win
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org July 6, 2012 11:20PM
The White Sox celebrate their fourth consecutive victory after beating the Blue Jays on Friday night. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: August 8, 2012 6:13AM
When Jake Peavy takes the mound for the White Sox, the question isn’t about his health anymore.
It’s whether the Sox will score runs for him.
In six starts in June, the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner had two no-decisions and four consecutive losses, despite a 2.70 ERA (nine earned runs in 30 innings) and two complete games. Peavy had two runs of support in his four losses, accounting for the third-lowest run support in baseball.
He trailed again 1-0 on Friday until his teammates came through in the fifth inning with three runs — and finished with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We did it,’’ Peavy said with a smile after gaining his first victory since May 26. “It was a great win and a great job by everyone — a great team win.
“I wasn’t on top of my game, but A.J. [Pierzynski] battled with me.’’
Pierzynski’s bat helped as well. The catcher hit his 16th homer in the sixth off Aaron Laffey (0-1) to cap the scoring.
“We finally scored some runs for him,’’ Pierzynski said of Peavy, who improved to 7-5 and lowered his ERA to 2.85 with 71/3 innings of one-run ball.
“He could have nine, 10, 11 wins if we could have scored some runs for him. Seems every time he pitches, we haven’t been able to score for him.’’
A three-run lead was huge for Peavy. The Blue Jays’ only run off him was Adam Lind’s solo homer in the second.
“When you get a lead as a starting pitcher, it changes the whole way you go about things,’’ he said. “Your thought process, your aggressiveness.’’
But Peavy has shown all those qualities even in June, when he excelled without the victories to show for it.
“He’s doing fine,’’ manager Robin Ventura said of Peavy, whose recovery from a potential career-ending muscle detachment has made his performances all the more remarkable. “He’s healthy, and that’s the biggest thing. He has pitched well.’’
Peavy might not have won the Final Vote as the last American League All-Star selection. But he is a prime candidate for comeback player of the year, contending with teammate Adam Dunn.
Asked for a self-evaluation of his first half, Peavy talked about his team more than himself.
“It was a nice first half,’’ he said, ‘‘but I wish we could have gotten in the win column more every fifth day I pitched — for the team. But we got it today, and one more will give us a series as we go into the break.
“It’s just getting going. We know we have a long 21/2 months left, but we’re all looking forward to it.’’
The Sox have won four in a row and eight of their last 10, matching their season high with a sixth consecutive home victory and improving overall to nine games above .500 (46-37) for the first time since the end of the 2010 season.
They added a game to their AL Central lead over the Cleveland Indians and are three games ahead.