BOSTON -- Adam Dunn saw this outcome from a great distance.
A day ago, he suggested Jake Peavy would best his former teammates if he were able to execute his game plan. But if Peavy slipped, Dunn thought the White Sox would take advantage.
While Peavy was off a tad on Saturday night neither Dunn nor the White Sox could capitalize. Peavy started slow but got on a roll and John Danks couldn’t keep up as the White Sox dropped a 7-2 decision to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
In his first outing against the White Sox since he joined Boston, Peavy benefitted from advanced knowledge of his former team. He struck out four and limited the White Sox to two runs and five hits over seven innings.
“That’s kind of a bad thing about being a buddy with a pitcher: They get traded and everything you’ve told them, it’s not very good,” Dunn said. “He had a good game plan and when he executed, that’s what happens.”
Peavy, who said he wasn’t very shapr, relied on his game plan to get him through what was clearly an emotional game for both sides.
On Friday, Peavy reiterated his preference prior to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline was to stay with the White Sox. Although he later said there was no revenge factor at play, on Friday Peavy also mentioned he wanted nothing more than to beat the team that had just traded him.
His approach suggested as much.
Dunn said Peavy went away from his normal routine against the White Sox and manager Robin Ventura observed the same from the dugout.
“He was spotting, throwing a lot of off-speed stuff and really locating,” Ventura said. “He does his homework and he’s good at it. … He’s good at seeing some weaknesses in people and he tried to exploit it today. You could see what he was trying to do.”
The White Sox hitters didn’t have as much luck and Peavy mostly executed what he wanted to accomplish.
He retired the first six men he faced, including Dunn on a broken-bat fly ball to left to start the second inning. While Dunn and Peavy both joked Friday about how their first showdown since 2010 might go, the two took their matchup serious.
Dunn said he was too amped up for the first at-bat and missed a fastball down the middle of the plate.
Peavy also felt extra emotion against Dunn, whom he called his “best friend in the world.”
“It was different, for sure,” Peavy said. “I threw him some good pitches. I threw him some pitches that he fouled off that he probably could have done something with. But it’s always nice when you come out on top and you just don’t have to listen to it.”
The White Sox didn’t make it easy in the early part of the game.
They got singles from Conor Gillaspie and Josh Phegley in the third inning and tied the score at 1 on Alejandro De Aza’s RBI fielder’s choice. An inning later, Avisail Garcia made it a 2-all game with a two-out RBI single off the man for whom he was traded. After a walk to Gillaspie, Peavy retired Jordan Danks on a grounder to first to strand two.
Peavy (11-5) went on to retire nine straight into the seventh inning and 10 of the last 11 he faced. He threw strikes on 68 of 109 pitches and walked only one.
“It really wasn’t that big of a deal once you got out there, once you got out there you get in compete mode,” Peavy said. “And we’re all used to guys being traded. You know guys. I just knew those guys a little bit more than you know guys around the league.”
Peavy’s offense made sure to give him some room to operate against John Danks.
Mike Napoli singled in a run in the first to put the Red Sox ahead 1-0.
Boston pulled back ahead 2-1 in the third inning with back-to-back, two-out doubles by Napoli and Jonny Gomes off John Danks (4-11).
Boston broke yet another tie in the fourth inning and pulled away for good.
Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in a run, Dustin Pedroia had an RBI groundout and David Ortiz singled in another off John Danks.
After he looked outstanding in his previous two starts, both wins, John Danks allowed five earned runs and 11 hits in five innings.
“It wasn’t unlike facing any other guy of Jake’s caliber,” John Danks said. “ I knew I had to be good and simply wasn’t. Jake did what he was supposed to do with the lead. Kudos to him I guess. It’s a little disappointing to not pull my end of the deal and pitch as well as I had hoped.”