Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Updated: 1:11 PM
By Brett Ballantini
CHICAGO It was a recipe for smiles all around: A second straight win over a hot, potent, pesky foe in the Los Angeles Angels, 16 wins in 20 games, edging to their best record since last making the playoffs two seasons ago.
But the Chicago White Soxs 4-1 win was shadowed by the loss of Jake Peavy, who pitched a commanding inning-plus before yielding to what first appeared to be a shoulder injury. The later, mildly-encouraging diagnosis, was a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle, which is in the back but centers discomfort in the armpit. (Peavy will be reevaluated tomorrow, with Daniel Hudson waiting in the wings for a sub start on Sunday if needed.)
I assumed he was done when I saw him walk off the mound, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of the ace that injects the Chuck Norris into starting pitching. Im pretty sure right now hell be on the DL.
Peavy himself wasnt speculating, but his postgame expression spoke volumes, if the beachball ice wrap sitting like a cyst on the right side of his torso didnt.
I dont know what to say. It didnt feel good, Peavy said. Something wasnt right.
The bucking bronc of a hurler cruised through the first, notching two strikeouts and looking as dominant as ever. His push toward an eighth win on the campaign was bolstered in the bottom half, when Juan Pierre led off with a rainbow double that eluded a somewhat sluggish Torii Hunter in right-center. One third-sack swipe by Savoir Pierre and an Alex Rios sac fly to left later, the White Sox led 1-0.
In the second, Hunter led off with a dribbler to third that rookie Dayan Viciedo misplayed into a single and Hideki Matsui flew out to right. Peavy coaxed his last out of the game not from batter Mike Napoli but Hunter, ambushed with a pickoff attempt that turned into out No. 2.
It was Peavys 28th pitch that found him walking immediately off the mound in pain. The workhorse was replaced by Tony Pena as a hush fell over the 21,889 in the U.S. Cellular Field crowd and Guillen tossed a towel in frustration.
Pena filled in well, however, pitching 4.1 innings of five-hit ball, stretching out for 53 pitches in a crucial, bullpen-saving effort.
Pena did a great job, Guillen said. He was the key to the game.
The Angels did knot the score at one when Napoli struck an 0-2 single up the middle to score Hunter in the bottom of the fourth. The White Sox threatened in the bottom half, when Mark Kotsay hit a long fly to left that Juan Rivera misplayed into a double and A.J. Pierzynski walked, but Andruw Jones, apparently content to free-fall back to the bench, whiffed with a pair still poised.
As Pena continued to cruise, Rios rescued the win for him with a long homer to left-center in an at-bat that immediately followed feisty Angels starter Jered Weaver dusting him in the batters box.
This game is crazy, Rios said of snapping his 0-13 slump on an evening he wasnt originally scheduled to play. As for exacting revenge on Weaver (who in his career had never allowed a home run, and just two runs total, vs. Chicago and fell to 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA with the loss), Rios merely fastened on a broad smile and said of his clout, It was good.
One inning later, Jones belted his 399th career home run to almost the identical spot in the stands as Rios. It was Jones first dinger in more than a month, snapped a 0-17 streak for the veteranand allowed him to make a pitch for another start on Wednesday.
Prior to the clout, his manager had been nearly reduced to begging Jones to relocate his lost stroke. Please hit another one before the next 200 at-bats, Guillen jabbed Jones postgame.
Hes kind of wild right now, Guillen continued. But we really needed that homer.
The Chisox continued stringing hits in the seventh to push across another run, with Viciedo stroking a single to center, Brent Lillibridge poking a blast to left-center that saw the Power-Packed Energy Wad pumping his fist out of the batters box in premature home run euphoria and Pierre tapping a grounder that Napoli could not corral, scoring a sprawling Viciedo.
To finish off this bittersweet victory, Guillen turned to his customary combination of J.J. Putz (a perfect, two-K seventh), Matt Thornton (escaping the eighth despite putting two men on with just one out before inducing popouts from No. 3 hitter Bobby Abreu and cleanup clouter Hunter) and Bobby Jenks (sweating a bit en route to his 18th save).
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.