ANAHEIM, Calif. – Jake Peavy can’t explain why he felt so good but pitched so poorly.
Peavy gave up four runs and four hits over six innings and walked five – two with the bases loaded – in a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
“I felt really good today, and that’s the most frustrating part for me,” said the 2007 NL Cy Young winner, who is 0-4 with a 6.06 ERA in six career starts against the Angels. “I went out there with a good game plan and felt like we could execute, but I just didn’t quite execute well enough. My slider was the best it’s been all year, so I’ve got some positives to take out of it. It’s just hard to be positive right now.”
The Angels opened the scoring in the third when Chris Iannetta drew a leadoff walk, J.B. Shuck followed with a single and Erick Aybar drove both of them in with a double to right field before he was erased in a rundown.
“Obviously the walks are going to kill you, especially leading off an inning. There’s no excuse for that,” said Peavy (5-2), who walked at least five batters for the 14th time in his 12-year career. He was 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his previous five starts.
Peavy, who threw 83 of his 117 pitches in the first four innings, walked four more batters in the fourth — including Iannetta and Aybar with the bases loaded — and the Angels increased the margin to 4-0. Two innings later, Peavy struck out the side on 18 pitches.
Iannetta’s second walk was his 14th in a span of 33 plate appearances, including four on Saturday. He has 27 overall, just two fewer than he had last season in 221 plate appearances. His career high is 70, with Colorado in 2011.
“He’s walking a lot,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I mean, if you look at Chris’ history, there’s no doubt the walk is in his game. Even when he was going through that little rough spot earlier in the season, he still drew some walks. I think it’s great plate discipline, especially when you’re not swinging the bat that well.”
The pitch that upset Peavy the most was the four-seam fastball on an 0-1 count that resulted in Aybar’s clutch double.
“It just kind of started inside corner and ended up inner-middle. Obviously, he was upset about that because that’s kind of his bread and butter against the lefties — in addition to using the cutter,” White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. “That’s kind of the put-away pitch for him. He just didn’t have a good feel for it, I guess.”
Jason Vargas (3-3) scattered four hits through seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts and three walks, helping the Angels gain a split of the four-game series. The middle of the Chicago lineup — Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko — were a combined 0 for 8 with a walk against the left-hander.
“When you’ve got three guys like that in a lineup, the biggest key is just to try and keep guys off base when they come up to the plate because it limits the damage that they’re able to do,” Vargas said. “When you can do that, you have more confidence in what you can go about doing with them, and there’s more room for error. They’ve got a really good lineup and they hit some balls hard today, but it just happened to be right at people.”
When asked what made Vargas so effective, Flowers said: “Beats me. I had some great pitches to hit and couldn’t do much with them.”
Rios drove in Chicago’s first run with an eighth-inning double against Dane De La Rosa. It extended his hitting streak to 14 games, eclipsing his previous best in 2006 with Toronto.
Ernesto Frieri was called in to protect a 4-1 lead, trying to get his second four-out save in two days after giving up a three-run homer in the eighth against Hector Gimenez on Saturday before closing that one out.
The right-hander walked three batters in the ninth this time before notching his ninth save in 10 attempts overall. Frieri gave up a sacrifice fly by Alejandro De Aza before retiring Alexei Ramirez on a flyball to end it.
Howie Kendrick gave Frieri a couple of insurance runs in the eighth with his double inside third base against rookie Brian Omogrosso.
NOTES: Peavy had issued eight walks in 45 2-3 innings over his seven previous starts this season. The three-time All-Star, who led the NL in strikeouts in 2005 and 2007 with San Diego, got the 1,800th of his career in the first inning when he caught Mike Trout looking. ... Dunn returned to the lineup as the designated hitter, after leaving Saturday’s game in the fifth inning because of back spasms. He finished 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk. ... The White Sox return home to start an eight-game homestand on Monday against Boston. Wednesday’s series finale will feature a compelling matchup between Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.78 ERA.) and Chris Sale — who is coming off back-to-back 3-0 wins against the Angels, including a one-hitter while limiting them to four total hits over 16 2-3 innings and striking out 19.