A pitching duel between two aces doesn't often live up to expectations. Many times the 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 game that is predicted turns into a slugfest.
It wasn't the case last night, however, in the 1-0 St. Louis triumph over the White Sox.
The matchup of the Cardinals' Lance Lynn, now tied for the major league lead in victories with 10, and the Sox's Jake Peavy, who has been at the top of his game all season, was a treat for baseball purists--even though the final result didn't quite thrill Sox fans.
Lynn pitched 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out 12--lowering his ERA to 2.42. In his 7 innings of work, Peavy made just one mistake that sealed the Sox fate--a solo home run to N.L. leader Carlos Beltran (No. 19) in the third inning--along with four hits, two walks and six strikeouts as his ERA dwindled to 2.91.
While they never had a runner cross home plate, the South Siders certainly had their chances to break through:
* Alex Rios started off the top of the fifth inning with a line drive triple to center, but Lynn was masterful and left him right there. He struck out A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez, intentionally walked Orlando Hudson, then ended the inning by fanning Peavy.
* With one out in the eighth, Hudson singled to center. The Sox sent Adam Dunn, who was sitting out because of a sore ankle, to bat for Peavy. The move then prompted Cards' skipper Mike Matheny to summon lefty Marc Rzepczynski, who surrendered a homer to Dunn the night before, to face the Sox slugger. Advantage Cardinals as Dunn grounded into an inning-ending double play.
*The Sox's best chance came in the ninth as the St. Loo closer Jason Motte came in to close the game--but it wasn't as easy as he would have liked. Alejandro De Aza singled to center, Gordon Beckham, bunted, sacrificing him to second. Dayan Viciedo then hit an infield single to short with De Aza scampering to third. With Paul Konerko, the man the Sox would want to come to the plate in that situation next up, hopes were high that he could at least tie the game and maybe put the Sox ahead heading into the bottom of the ninth. But the worst happened, similar to Dunn's fate the inning before, and Paulie hit into a game-ending double play.
Gavin Floyd, who has been less than stellar (and that's putting it kindly) is on the mound tonight vs. the Cardinals' Jake Westbrook in an attempt to give the White Sox a series victory before they head to L.A. to face the Dodgers.
Sox Note of Note: The good news is that the Tribe also lost and the Sox maintain their 1 1/2 game lead over the Indians.