Instant Rationalization - Offense begrudgingly gives Peavy the bare minimum run support needed

Instant Rationalization - Offense begrudgingly gives Peavy the bare minimum run support needed
This was the hardest any Sox hit a ball today // Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Buried under the larger truth that the Twins pitching staff is the worst in the league, is that Scott Diamond is probably their best starter, and having himself a pretty fine season.  With that in mind, the pitcher's duel that broke out between Diamond and Jake Peavy Wednesday wasn't a surprise, even if the name recognition wasn't there.

Or the aesthetics.

Diamond is a Twins product through-and through, so he allowed plenty of hits, didn't record a strikeout until the 5th inning, and didn't walk a soul.  After manufacturing a run from Alejandro De Aza's leadoff single in the 1st, the Sox enabled this approach by extinguishing rallies with double plays in the 3rd and 4th, and to overcome a 2-1 deficit, they didn't even leave the infield.

With runners on the corners in the 5th, Brian Dozier bobbled a Tyler Flowers grounder just enough to prevent the Sox third-straight double play and allow Rios to score the tying run.  Flowers' foot speed would turn the game once again in the 8th--he reached on an infield single, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, hustled to 3rd on a short chopper by Orlando Hudson, and sprinted home to beat Joe Mauer's tag after De Aza lined a ball off of Diamond's thigh.

It was hardly a stunning offensive outburst, but after all the other lean days Peavy has been forced to deal with, he bent over backwards to make the three runs stand up.  After early speedbumps that included a Danny Valencia home run, he cruised through eight innings, even pitching over a potentially back-breaking Kevin Youkilis error in his final frame.

Addison Reed was a sinking flare misplayed by Alex Rios away from having a non-terrifying save.  Alas, it was not meant to be, and he recorded the final out with the winning run on 2nd.

White Sox 3, Twins 2

Key Performers

Jake Peavy - 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, ER, 2 BB, 8 K, HR, 114 pitches - Anxieties about him pitching the 8th aside, a dominant outing that survived two errors being committed behind him.

De Aza/Rios/Flowers - 7 for 11, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI - They really showed up, which is good...

Rest of team - 2 for 22, SF, RBI, 4 K - ...because no one else really did

Turning Point

Scott Diamond lost the game in the 8th without letting a ball get past the mound on the fly.  Tyler Flowers dropped a dribbler in front of Danny Valencia that he couldn't barehand in time, and advanced all the way to 3rd over the course of Orlando Hudson's at-bat (which was another weak grounder) thanks to a wild pitch.

Given the paucity of scoring opportunities, Flowers was smart not to hesitate running home after De Aza lined a ball off of Scott Diamond's thigh.  His rushed pace forced Diamond to make an off-balance throw that pulled Mauer to the 1st base side, allowing just enough room for Flowers to slide in for the go-ahead tally..

Things Would Be Different If...

...Sox pitches couldn't pitch over defensive miscues.

Peavy shrugged off a Youkilis error on what should have been the last out of the 8th by jamming Joe Mauer into a pop-up to strand the tying run at 3rd.

Reed was dealt dual blows in the 9th.  Rios dived after a sinking flare from Ryan Doumit and turned a two-out single into a double, and after a Danny Valencia walk, no one covered 2nd base on a double steal.  It helped that the batter was Brian Dozier, but the popped-up changeup to center field ended the game nevertheless, and restored many heartbeats to their normal rates.

Takeaway

The Sox seem downright ragged as they return home, both in health and quality of play, and currently have Jake Peavy on a 230-inning pace, but were able to scrape out a series win in a weakened state regardless.  Depending on the Detroit result, they could enter the weekend with their largest divisional lead of the season.

In the mean time, rest is needed.

 

Team Record: 57-47, 3 games up at time of posting

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