WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The same hot and humid air that helped break several White Sox hitters out of slow starts caught up with Jake Peavy on Tuesday night.
Peavy yielded three of the four home runs surrendered by White Sox pitching in an 8-7 loss to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
Two homers occurred during a critical four-run Washington rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche broke open a tied game with two-run homers off Peavy (1-1).
LaRoche later added another homer and the Nationals held off a late surge by the White Sox, who got round-trippers from Paul Konerko and Alex Rios. The Sox offense finished with 11 hits in spite of the absence of second baseman Gordon Beckham, who left the game early with an injured left wrist and is likely out through at least Wednesday.
“Obviously the sixth inning got away from us,” said Peavy, who allowed six earned runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. “I was pouring sweat, losing a lot of fluid and was going through our hydrating stuff, about one an inning. And that last inning, there was a decline in stuff, and just gave up a few long balls that ended up costing us the game. Very disappointing.”
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The White Sox arrived in the nation’s capitol to find 81-degree weather at first pitch after they played in cold temperatures throughout their first week.
Peavy pitched well in his first two times through Washington’s lineup but didn’t get through again.
Leadoff man Denard Span, who reached in three of four plate appearances, opened the go-ahead rally with a double to right to start to start the sixth. Werth then untied a 2-all game when he ripped a first-pitch fastball deep into the bleachers in left for a two-run lead.
Peavy struck out Bryce Harper but walked Ryan Zimmerman. His 1-1 curveball to LaRoche found too much of the zone and the left-hander ripped it over the center-field fence for a 6-2 lead. LaRoche, who is 5-for-14 with three homers against Peavy, later added a solo shot off reliever Matt Thornton.
“He had LaRoche there a couple of times early and then (LaRoche) got him the last time,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They are tough. It takes a lot out of you to go through that lineup -- a lot of good at-bats, at-bat after at-bat. It was just one of those that they finally got to him.”
The weather appeared to help several frosty White Sox bats.
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Leadoff man Alejandro De Aza went 3-for-4 with two doubles, drew his first walk and scored twice.
Jeff Keppinger also singled and scored twice in five at-bats and Konerko had his best game as well, going 1-for-2 with a homer and four RBIs. Konerko also walked twice.
And Rios maintained his torrid pace with three hits, including a two-run homer off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano in the ninth. Rios has homered in four straight and takes a 13-game hitting streak into Wednesday.
But the output wasn’t enough.
The White Sox were hurt again by an error as Donnie Veal’s errant pickoff throw allowed Steve Lombardozzi to go from first to third in the seventh inning. Werth then singled him in to increase the Nats’ lead to 7-5.
The advantage grew to three runs when LaRoche, who had been hitless in his first 15 at-bats this season, homered off Thornton.
“It was kind of a back and forth game, a lot of home runs out there tonight,” Konerko said. “Their starter was out of the game early. Peavy battled through. It was a good game, they were just a little bit better in all the areas.”