It took a while to notice that Jake Peavy was having a good game Wednesday night. He sat around the 89-91 range, Carlos Beltran tagged for him a massive solo home run in the 3rd inning, and he barely escaped that frame without further damage.
Also there was Cardinals starter Lance Lynn.
Whereas Peavy merely had a commendable outing and dropped his ERA under 3.00, Lance Lynn dominated, setting a career-high in strikeouts against the Sox lineup.
Lancy Lynn is already a guy who gets a lot of strikeouts, so him setting a career-high involved 12 K's over 7.1 shutout innings.
The only threat he faced came in the 5th with a leadoff triple from Alex Rios, a situation he promptly fixed by striking out the side, including the unwhiffable A.J. Pierzynski.
A 9th inning rally saw Alejandro De Aza get to 3rd base, but was extinguished by a game-ending double play off the bat of Paul Konerko, of all people.
Cardinals 1, White Sox 0
Jake Peavy - 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 90 pitches - Battling the flu, his usual grab-bag of cutters and two-seamers, sinkers and sliders played up well, and efficiently too. He was pretty terrible at the plate, though.
Lance Lynn - 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 12 K, 112 pitches - Overpowering with his mid-90's fastball, but also terrible at the plate. Noted thing about NL ball--free strikeouts, every time through the lineup.
Alejandro De Aza - 2 for 4 - One of two hitters in the lineup who reached base twice
Orlando Hudson - 1 for 3, BB, K - The other!
Paul Konerko - 0 for 4, Game-ending GIDP - Didn't strike out at all, but rolled over one when he couldn't afford to
Alexei Ramirez - 0 for 3, 3 K - Well, he was great in the field!
Alex Rios drilled a triple to left-center to lead off the 5th, and with A.J. Pierzynski up next, there was a great chance for the ball to be put in play to score him, as the infield was conceding the run.
Instead, Pierzynski got two pitches to drive early in the at-bat (represented by the maroon-colored plots in this image) and couldn't square up either one in play. Down in the count, he eventually struck out on an outside fastball. Alexei Ramirez and Jake Peavy at the plate were lambs for the slaughter, and the best scoring chance of the night was wasted.
Things Would Be Different If...
Robin Ventura will get some scrutiny for the 9th, but it's really all Yadier Molina's fault.
Robin sacrificed an out with Gordon Beckham to move De Aza to 2nd base in order to get the tying run in scoring position, because he didn't trust his best base-stealer against the Cardinals' Gold Glove catcher. He similarly kept Jordan Danks on 1st--set up for the game-ending double play--for the same reason.
Also, if Dayan Viciedo's 9th inning single sneaks under Rafael Furcal's glove, the Sox would still be playing, and I wouldn't be writing.
The pain of a super-close loss is magnified by the waste of a Jake Peavy gem, since the team typically doesn't know where their next great pitching performance is coming from.
On the other hand, the Indians lost to the Reds, so there's no loss in standings, and with the buzzsaw that Lance Lynn was on this night, shrugging and hoping to beat up on Jake Westbrook Thursday is legitimate recourse.
Team Record: 34-28, 1.5 games up