NEW YORK -- There are plenty of reasons the White Sox have struggled this season but starting pitching has rarely been the culprit.
Although he was fresh off a bad back, Jake Peavy further emphasized the point Wednesday night with 6 2/3 strong innings against the New York Mets.
Peavy led the way, the defense turned in several spectacular plays and a 13-hit offense added on late as the White Sox topped the Mets 6-3 in front of 21,470 at Citi Field.
Peavy, who hadn’t pitched since April 26 because of back spasms, allowed a run, three hits, walked two and struck out six to improve to 4-1.
“It starts with pitching and Jake had a great game,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He held them pretty much without any threats early. That started it.”
Peavy merely continued a hot streak by White Sox starting pitchers, who in their last 19 games are 7-3 with a 2.54 ERA and have averaged 6.16 innings per start. Although it has been without John Danks, Peavy for a start, and now Gavin Floyd, the team’s rotation has a 3.50 ERA this season.
Peavy lowered that ERA by 0.08 on Wednesday without the benefit of good feel for his pitches. The right-hander said he didn’t experience any back issues only six days after spasms kept him from making a start against the Texas Rangers. But after his pregame warmups, Peavy said he had trouble with his command.
Those issues rarely surfaced, however, as Peavy still got ahead of Mets hitters and threw strikes on 76 of 114 pitches.
“I tried to bear down from the start,” Peavy said. “I just didn’t throw many balls where I wanted to and needed to. But I made enough good pitches and the defense behind me was outstanding.”
With the score tied at 1 in the second inning after Lucas Duda homered to deep right off Peavy, Sox center fielder Dewayne Wise prevented New York from pulling ahead. Ike Davis crushed a pitch to deep center with a man on first but Wise tracked it down before he slammed into the wall at the 408-foot mark.
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Two innings later, Alexei Ramirez got a fist-pump from an ecstatic Peavy after the shortstop ranged far to his left to start an inning-ending double play and keep the White Sox ahead 4-1.
Ramirez also took a hit away from Jordany Valdespin in the first inning.
“Overall we played great defense,” Wise said. “Jake pitched a great game, the defense was solid for nine innings. Big win for us.”
An impressive performance from the offense started almost immediately when Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a solo homer to right field.
One night after they were limited to one base runner against Mets youngster Matt Harvey, the White Sox bounced back as every starter except for Peavy finished with a hit. Ventura said it wasn’t De Aza’s first-inning shot that got the White Sox going, but rather a two-run bloop double to center field by Conor Gillaspie in the third that opened up a 4-1 lead for the White Sox.
One batter earlier, Rios doubled in the go-ahead run after back-to-back singles by De Aza and Ramirez to open the inning. The four straight hits established a season-best for the White Sox, who are near the bottom of the American League in several prominent offensive categories.
“Once you get the inning where you get multiple runs, that’s the one where you start getting a little bit better feeling and you tack on from there,” Ventura said. “Getting one early is nice, but having the three-run inning, that’s the one that makes you feel good.”
The White Sox added another run in the seventh on a Paul Konerko RBI single. Rios, who had a ninth-inning solo homer, and Gillaspie each reached base three times as the offense secured a well-deserved victory for Peavy.
“Big win,” Peavy said. “We needed to come back and win after what happened last night. It was nice for the boys to respond.”
The right-hander received serious aide from his defense as Ramirez turned in a pair of sterling plays at shortstop and Dewayne Wise raced to the wall to snag an Ike Davis drive.
But other than that, Peavy found success as he got ahead of hitters early in the count. Peavy threw strikes on 76 of 114 pitches.