Sox bats perk up for Jake Peavy in 4-1 victory over Blue Jays
BY TONI GINNETTI Sun-Times Media July 6, 2012 11:16PM
Chicago White Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays. 9Th-inning White Sox catcher No.12 A.J. Pierzynski congratulates closing pitcher No.43 Addison Reed after the White Sox victory over the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2. Friday July 6, 2012. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: August 8, 2012 6:16AM
CHICAGO — 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 June starts, the former Cy Young Award winner had two no-decisions and four straight losses, despite a 2.70 ERA (nine earned runs in 30 innings) and two complete games.
Peavy had only two runs of support in his four losses, accounting for the third lowest run support in baseball.
He trailed again 1-0 Friday against Toronto until his teammates came through in the fifth inning with three runs—and finished with a 4-2 victory.
“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 helped offensively as well, the catcher driving 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 Peary, who improved to 7-5 and lowered his ERA to 2.85 in 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 during 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. He’s healthy. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down or needing anything extra. That’s the biggest thing for us.”
Peavy may 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 honors, contending with teammate Adam Dunn.
Asked for a self-evaluation of his first half, Peavy was thinking about his team more than himself.
“It was a nice first half, 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 in this clubhouse we have a long two and a half months left, but we’re all looking forward to it.”
The Sox have won four straight and eight of their last 10, matching their season high with a sixth straight home victory and improving overall to nine games above .500 (46-37) for the first time since the end of the 2010 season.
The added a game to their American League Central lead over Cleveland, now three games ahead.
Peavy allowed only five hits, walking two and striking out seven. Matt Thornton finished the eighth. Addison Reed gave up a run in the ninth but earned his 13th save.