Lack of run support hurts Peavy in White Sox's loss

Caption
White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy delivers during the first inning against the Tigers on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. The Sox lost, 5-3. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO – Six years have passed since Jake Peavy experienced the thrill of the playoffs.

As the White Sox battle the persistent Detroit Tigers for the AL Central lead, Peavy doesn’t hesitate to shoulder the responsibility for a loss – even when he is not necessarily to blame.

The Sox (76-65) struggled again Tuesday to back Peavy with adequate run support in their 5-3 loss to the Tigers. They’ve dropped eight of their past nine games to Detroit and their lead is two games in the division.

Asked if he felt he had put his team in a good position to win, Peavy took the diplomatic route.

“We had a chance,” Peavy said. “You give your team a chance to win. We had a chance I guess, I don’t know. I’d love to have some pitches back, but that’s a deep, deep lineup and a dangerous lineup.

“I take nothing personally,” Peavy added. “Wins and losses as a team right now is what we’re after.”

Peavy, who tossed his 15th straight game with at least 104 pitches, found a way to tame a potent Tigers offense for most of the night, mixing his pitches and keeping their most dangerous hitters in check. But two pitches – out of the 117 he threw – changed that.

Peavy (10-11) served up two home runs in the fifth inning, including Miguel Cabrera’s two-run, go-ahead homer. Cabrera, feasting on a 0-1 fastball, deposited the long ball in nearly the same spot as teammate Austin Jackson’s solo homer, two batters earlier. Both pitches were 91 mph fastballs left up in the zone.

“I think that one inning he just left a couple in there,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They’re good hitters. For me that was the mistakes. I think it then got to the point he got tired and got out of that one.”

It would have served the Sox’s best interest to capitalize on Peavy’s start considering they face Detroit’s two best pitchers, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, in the final two games. But Peavy’s performance, though a loss, was still impressive in its own right.

Tuesday marked the sixth time Peavy faced the Tigers this season with less than stellar results. He is 1-3 with a 5.43 ERA, yet he put the Sox in position to pull off the win.

“It comes down to execution,” Peavy said. “There’s no secrets. I faced that particular lineup just about every time I faced them. ... There’s no secrets. Those guys know what I’m going to do. I had good stuff tonight. When you do have good stuff you get a lot of foul balls, you get a lot of swing and misses and the pitch count just got up extremely high.”

Pitching at U.S. Cellular Field has led to some of his best performances despite it being known as a hitters’ ballpark. Peavy entered Tuesday night’s outing owning a 3-1 record with a 2.18 ERA in his last five home starts. If not for a skyrocketing pitch count, Peavy was pace to toss another quality start.

“It’s a small ballpark but that doesn’t have anything to do with those homers tonight,” Peavy said. “Homers are homers in whatever ballpark you play in. You pitch to get outs no matter where you pitch.”

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