The White Sox bats had ground out all of two runs of support for Jake Peavy in his last four starts (all losses), despite a 2.70 ERA during that time.
Redemption is a long road, so while the Sox weren't quite ready for the type of 19-run expression of devotion they recently laid at the feet of Chris Sale, but the three-run output in the 5th not only represented progress, but exponential improvement.
It didn't come easy against Quad-A lefty soft-tosser supreme Aaron Laffey, nor did it come without help from the Toronto defense. Dayan Viciedo was the first to turn an inside pitch into extra bases down the line to lead off the 5th, and scored when Alexei Ramirez immediately did the same.
Well, Ramirez only singled, but when Blue Jays left fielder Rajai Davis airmailed the throw home, it effectively became a leadoff triple. Ramirez himself scored on a Gordon Beckham bloop single, which effectively became a double when Brett Lawrie--with his momentum taking him toward the fence--attempted an impromptu lateral to Davis...which Davis didn't see
Since he can't be stopped, Kevin Youkilis capped the scoring in the inning with another RBI single, and since he's still mad about the All-Star Game, A.J. Pierzynski launched his 16th home run of the season for extra padding.
Behind this veritable explosion, Peavy cruised to his best outing since the Cubs were last in town, with a solo homer to the recently recalled Adam Lind being his only indignity.
Addison Reed, working for the third inhumanly warm day in a row, looked like a shaky closer using all of his extra lead.
White Sox 4, Blue Jays 2
Jake Peavy - 7.1 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 7 K, HR, 115 pitches - This has become sort of routine. Which is great.
Alexei Ramirez - 2 for 3, RBI, R - This empty .260 average is a lot better than that empty .225 average
A.J. Pierzynski - 1 for 3, HR, BB - Home runs? Walks? I don't know who this guy is, but I don't miss A.J.
Kevin Youkilis - 1 for 3, BB, RBI - He's been right about as good as could have been hoped
Matt Thornton - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0BB, 2 K - Finished off both of his strikeouts with a big looping slurve, which was unusual to see.
Getting in on the hands of righties is paramount for a lefty of Aaron Laffey's ilk. Such an approach has already launched the Legend of Jose Quintana. In the 5th, the Sox started adjusting and punishing him for it.
Dayan Viciedo ripped a fastball right on the black for a double down the line, and that was on the best location Laffey managed all inning. Looping sliders on the inner half were punished for RBI singles to left field by Ramirez and Youkilis, and that was all the damage that was needed.
Things Would Be Different If...
...Not for Toronto's defense.
The Blue Jays added two, if not three extra-bases to the Sox rally in the 5th with Rajai Davis' 15 foot-high throw home, and Brett Lawrie's sudden decision to re-enact Reggie's Bush lateral in the 2006 National Championship Game. Worse yet for Lawrie, the Youkilis single sailed right over his head while he was in the dreaded drawn-in infield formation.
Since Laffey was operating just as smoothly as could have been expected, and the Blue Jays had the tying run at the plate in the 9th, the D is where the blame belongs.
It's high time the White Sox started taking advantage of Peavy's All-Star caliber performance, and all it took was an enormous talent mismatch in the pitching matchup.
Exasperation aside, it was easy-to-watch affair where everyone did their jobs. Peavy ate innings, Thornton acted as the primary set-up man, Reed closed despite a huge workload, and the offense jumped all over defensive mistakes. Their reward is a full game in the standings.
Team Record: 46-37, 3 games up