NEW YORK – Jake Peavy’s back was just fine. So was the White Sox offense, for a change.
Peavy pitched three-hit ball after a brief absence from the rotation and the Sox got bookend home runs from Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios to beat the New York Mets, 6-3, on Wednesday night for a split of their two-game series.
De Aza hit a leadoff homer and finished with three hits. Rios went deep in the ninth inning and knocked in two runs for a Sox team that entered next-to-last in the majors in scoring.
“When you start a game like that, everybody seems to follow the leader. And that’s what we’ve got to do,” Rios said. “I think we’re going to get out of this funk sooner than later.”
Rios also had three hits, including an RBI double, and Conor Gillaspie blooped a two-run double off Jeremy Hefner (0-4) as the Sox’s struggling hitters finally found a few holes.
Paul Konerko added a run-scoring single to help the last-place Sox take the finale of a 4-4 road trip.
“Outside of the home run and Rios’ double, they weren’t exactly swinging the bats,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I thought Jeremy was pitching OK, we just couldn’t catch back up.”
Peavy (4-1) pitched around a leadoff double in the sixth and threw 114 pitches over 62/3 sturdy innings to win his third consecutive decision. He struck out six and walked two.
“Tried to bear down from the start,” Peavy said. “Made enough good pitches, defense was outstanding — and that’s what we did last year.”
It was Peavy’s first start since beating Tampa Bay on April 26. He had been scratched twice since because of back spasms. The three-time All-Star gave up only Lucas Duda’s leadoff homer in the second as Chicago won for the first time in five interleague games this season, dropping the Mets to 3-1 against AL teams.
Peavy pumped his fist after Ramirez made a diving stop to start an inning-ending double play in the fourth. The shortstop also ranged far up the middle and made a pretty pirouette throw to rob Jordany Valdespin of a leadoff hit in the first.
Wise ran a long way to catch Ike Davis’ deep drive with a runner on in the second, making the grab just before his back smacked into the fence near the 408-foot sign.
“I knew it was coming,” Wise said. “That’s why when I caught the ball I kind of braced myself.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who played third base for the Mets on their 2000 World Series team, shuffled his slumping lineup a bit. He raised Ramirez to second in the order while Gillaspie started in the cleanup spot for the first time in his big league career.
Chicago entered with 104 runs and had managed only seven in its previous four games, including two shutout losses. The White Sox were overpowered by Matt Harvey in the series opener Tuesday night, held to Rios’ infield single with two outs in the seventh. The team said that made Chicago the third club since 1900 to put just one runner on base in an extra-inning game, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
“Big win,” Peavy said. “We needed to come back and win after what happened last night. Good for the boys to respond.”
De Aza snapped an 0-for-10 slide when he pulled Hafner’s fifth pitch to right for his sixth home run of the year and sixth career leadoff shot. His other one this season came on April 20 against Minnesota.
De Aza dropped down a bunt single for the first of Chicago’s four straight hits in a three-run third. Rios had an RBI double and Gillaspie plopped a two-run double into shallow center, making it 4-1.
“Getting one early is nice, but having the three-run inning, that’s the one that makes you feel pretty good,” Ventura said.
Rios and Gillaspie singled in the seventh off reliever Scott Atchison before Konerko looped an RBI single into right.
“There weren’t a lot of balls that were hard hit, but we got some to fall in and hopefully that’s something to build on,” Wise said.
An error by Rios in the right field corner allowed a run to score in the eighth, but Mets pinch-hitter Justin Turner tripped after rounding first base and had to settle for a single.
Jesse Crain struck out three batters to squash the rally, and Rios hit a long homer to left off Jeurys Familia in the ninth to make it 6-2. Addison Reed gave up a run in the ninth before striking out rookie Juan Lagares with two on to end it as the Mets fell short in front of a sparse crowd of 21,470.
Hefner, hurt by a lack of run support lately, didn’t pitch all that badly. He gave up some soft hits but kept his team in the game for six innings, allowing four runs and eight hits.
The right-hander struck out five and issued an intentional walk. New York has lost all seven of his outings this season, including six starts. The Mets also fell to 0-7 in games following Harvey’s starts.
“It’s very frustrating. The bottom line is I’m tired of losing,” Hefner said. “Those cheap hits can be averted sometimes. I didn’t pitch inside effectively enough tonight.”
NOTES: Rios batted .188 in his previous 21 games. ... White Sox 2B Jeff Keppinger was rested ahead of the team’s day off Thursday, giving him back-to-back breathers. ... New York RHP Dillon Gee (2-4, 6.16 ERA) starts against Pittsburgh LHP Jeff Locke (3-1, 3.21) in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night. ... The Mets visit the White Sox for two games in late June.