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Cardinals starter Lance Lynn outduels Jake Peavy in Sox’ 1-0 loss

Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy

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Updated: July 15, 2012 3:40PM

ST. LOUIS — Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was going on about White Sox swagger after the Sox took the first game of their three-game interleague series at Busch Stadium.

“You see a team with a lot of confidence, just the way they walk onto the field and the way they play the game,’’ Matheny said.

After the Cardinals evened the series with a 1-0 victory on Wednesday night, all the Sox could talk about was Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn, who momentarily took the swag out of the Sox’ strut.

“He was real good,’’ said Paul Konerko, the American League’s leading hitter who went 0-for-4, including a game-ending double play against closer Jason Motte with runners at the corners. “Deceptive delivery, and more than anything, just location. Even when you know what the guy is throwing, if he’s hitting his spots, it’s tough to put good swings on him.’’

Lynn (10-2, 2.42) struck out a career high 12, including Alexei Ramirez and tough-to-fan A.J. Pierzynski after Alex Rios led off the fifth with a triple. Lynn intentionally walked Orlando Hudson before striking out Sox’ tough-luck losing pitcher Jake Peavy (6-2).

“I just got outpitched,’’ Peavy said with a hoarse voice, the after-effects of a bout with the flu he was still fighting Wednesday. “There ain’t no other way to say it. The kid was real good.’’

Outpitching Peavy, who gave up a 442-foot home run to Carlos Beltran in the third and finished his seven innings by retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, was no small feat. Peavy gave up four hits, walked two and struck out six while lowering his ERA to 2.91.

“You hate to go out there and be almost good enough and you feel good and just not get it done,’’ said Peavy, who was also on the losing end of a 1-0 loss to the Red Sox on April 28. “That’s just part of the game.’’

The way the Sox have been going with an offense that led the majors in runs (6.2 per game), average (.287), homers (45) and average with runners in scoring position (.336) since May 14, manager Robin Ventura had to believe the Sox would find a way to win their ninth straight on the road despite Lynn.

“When guys go to the plate, if you are in close games, you feel like you are going to be able to win that game,’’ Ventura said before the game. “Guys feel like they are going to be able to knock in that run. Those are things that evolve and happen with guys at-bat after at-bat.’’

That’s what Matheny sees in the Sox. Ventura sees it, too.

“I see it now,’’ Ventura said. “Everybody hopefully feels that way in spring training, but I think it happens during the season. You have tough games and you win them or a tough series and you do well, you run up against certain teams and play well, it starts building and I think that’s something that these guys have earned to be able to feel that way.’’

Motte pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save after allowing a leadoff single to Alejandro De Aza, a sacrifice bunt to Gordon Beckham and an infield single by Dayan Viciedo. Motte got Konerko to hit a 3-1 pitch off the end of his bat to third baseman David Freese, who started the twin-killing.

“We had our shot, that’s the way it goes,’’ Ventura said. “That’s just a great pitched ballgame by both guys. You’re on the short end of it, but we had our chances.’’

Before the game, Ventura said disabled left-hander John Danks might make one more minor-league rehab start, but it’s possible Danks returns to the rotation as soon as the Cubs series at U.S. Cellular Field next week.

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