Each of the last two times Jake Peavy has faced the Washington Nationals, he blazed through injury red flags to deliver outstanding performances. Each of the last two times, he was injured shortly afterward.
By that measure, Peavy’s running out of gas at around 80 pitches in the sixth inning of the Sox 8-7 loss in Washington and giving up two long two-run home runs to Jayson Werth (who flied out 400 feet to dead center in the fourth) and Adam LaRoche is a good thing. Even if it turned a 2-2 tied game into a 6-2 Nationals lead before Robin Ventura could amble out of the dugout or holler for mercy. It seemed to early to panic when Peavy allowed a leadoff double to Denard Span shortly before the first home run, the second blast seemed more like a tired pitcher being victimized.
It was an ignominious end to promising beginning for Peavy. He had his two-seamer snapping beautifully to start and had a mighty fine seven-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio to go alongside the three bombs he allowed.
Late-inning four-run deficits on the road against consensus National League favorites are a bit of a bear, but the White Sox did well to not be cartoonishly demolished. The foppish leadoff duo of Alejandro De Aza (3-4, BB, R) and Jeff Keppinger got on in the top of the seventh for Paul Konerko (1-1, HR, 2BB, SF), who lifted his first home run of the season to left off Tyler Clippard to draw the Sox within a run at 6-5.
It was the breakthrough that never came against an inefficient Gio Gonzalez, who racked up 99 pitches and never saw the sixth inning. Gonzalez found himself with the bases loaded in the first inning with one out and lefty-masher Dayan Viciedo (in what might be his only start of the series) at the plate, but this was not one of Dayan’s fluid-looking days, as he dug himself an 0-2 hole, and finished it with a wild flail.
If not for Gio Gonzalez messing up a step off the rubber badly enough to get called for a balk that forced Keppinger home, the Nationals might have escaped the threat entirely unscathed. It was the only run Gonzalez would surrender all night, giving way to Craig Stammen, who was nicked for a run in the sixth due to a wave of soft singles and catcher Wilson Ramos airmailing a throw to center field on an Alex Rios stolen base.
Notions of a larger comeback were snuffed out by the bullpen moving the goalposts. Donnie Veal came on in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on first, but pushed him across the diamond to third with one of the worst pickoff throws of the young season and continued his control problems by walking the left-handed Denard Spand, who he was specifically brought on to retire. Matt Lindstrom allowed a RBI single past a diving Conor Gillaspie to Jayson Werth before getting a double play to end the inning.
The eighth frame was witness to plenty of Thornton Luck, but the wave of soft singles were ultimately made irrelevant. Unfortunately they had been preceded by a golfed Adam LaRoche solo shot (his second home run of the night and the season), though, which wound up being the difference when Alex Rios clocked a two-out, two-run home run to left off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano, bringing the game to its 8-7 final score.
–Gordon Beckham left the game after an awkward swing on a strikeout in the second. He was listed as day-to-day with a nerve irritation in his wrist. Angel Sanchez came on in his place, but a Jeff Keppinger-Conor Gillaspie combo is far more likely.
–Don Cooper missed the game while hospitalized for diverticulitis. It’s not considered serious, but Bobby Thigpen served as pitching coach in his stead. Amusingly, Peavy’s first home run in the sixth came right after a Thigpen mound visit.
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