White Sox 8, Indians 1

Jake Peavy needed an easy night to take some stress off his

overworked right arm.

The White Sox gave him one.

They staked Peavy to an early eight-run lead and he cruised for

seven innings on Thursday night as Chicago rocked Cleveland 8-1 to

split the four-game series against the AL Central-leading

Indians.

Adam Dunn hit his 10th homer, a two-run shot in the first inning

and the White Sox tacked on six runs in the fourth off Jeanmar

Gomez (2-2). That eased the burden on Peavy, who threw 122 pitches

in his previous start and pitched nine innings in the two before

that.

Peavy (4-1) allowed seven hits, struck out five and had little

difficulty in subduing the Indians, who didn’t get a runner past

second base until the seventh. He has been overpowering in his last

five starts, posting a 1.36 ERA.

”I had great stuff,” Peavy said. ”It wasn’t an easy start by

any means, but to have a start where you can be aggressive and

throw a lot of strikes and not have to really work hard was nice.

If you could draw it up like that for all 30-some starts, it would

be a perfect world.”

Alexei Ramirez had three hits and Alejandro De Aza drove in two

runs for the White Sox, who had only one extra-base hit – Dunn’s

425-foot blast off Gomez, who was tagged for eight runs and nine

hits in 6 2-3 innings.

After playing in seven straight games decided by two runs or

fewer, the White Sox finally had a somewhat relaxed nine

innings.

They were swept in a day-night doubleheader on Monday, but

bounced back to take the final two games in the series. Chicago

improved to 14-5 in its last 19 games at Progressive Field.

”It was good to come back with these two wins after losing the

doubleheader,” Peavy said. ”You have to beat the team in first

place in your division.”

Peavy was only in trouble once before allowing a run in the

seventh.

Travis Hafner led off Cleveland’s second with a single, and one

out later, Shin-Soo Choo singled. Michael Brantley followed by

hitting a line drive up the middle that Peavy somehow trapped

against his stomach before throwing to first to force Choo for an

inning-ending double play.

Brantley just shook his head and laughed as he headed back to

the dugout.

”I tried to get in front of it,” Peavy said. ”I kind of got

it right in the chest. I don’t think it hit my glove until it

rolled in.”

Peavy got ahead of nearly every Cleveland hitter, preventing the

Indians from being too selective.

”He attacked the strike zone,” Indians manager Manny Acta

said. ”He went after guys.”

Dunn’s homer was really all Peavy needed.

After the start of the game was delayed for 64 minutes by rain

that never arrived, Gomez walked De Aza leading off. One out later,

Dunn drove a 1-0 pitch deep into the lower seats in right, the

burly designated hitter’s sixth homer in the last 11 games.

Dunn hit just 11 homers last season and didn’t connect for his

10th until July 26.

”I don’t feel bad, but I don’t feel like I’m on fire by any

means,” Dunn said.

Dunn would later strike out in his 36th consecutive game, which

according research done by the Indians, is the longest streak since

pitcher Bob Veale (1967-68).

The White Sox added six runs in the fourth, torturing Gomez by

going base to base with hard-hit singles and a pair of walks to

open an 8-0 lead.

A.J. Pierzynski, Ramirez and Eduardo Escobar each hit RBI

singles before De Aza drove in two runs with a single to center.

Gordon Beckham followed with a sinking liner to left that Johnny

Damon snared with a diving catch for the second out, but Escobar,

starting in place of Brent Morel, alertly tagged and scored to cap

the inning.

As Gomez struggled, Indians manager Manny Acta elected not to

get anyone up in his overworked bullpen.

Peavy also allowed White Sox manager Robin Ventura to rest his

relievers. Before the game, the club announced that new closer

Chris Sale would undergo an MRI on his sore left elbow Thursday in

Chicago. Sale was recently moved from the starting rotation into

the closer’s role because of tenderness in his elbow.

Ventura insisted the move is precautionary at this point, but

the team won’t really know until it gets test results on the

23-year-old Sale.

NOTES: The Indians remain uncertain about RHP Roberto

Hernandez’s future. Formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez

remains in the Dominican Republic, where he was arrested in January

on identity fraud charges. Acta said Hernandez’s representatives

thought he would have rejoined the club by now, but he’s been

unable to get a work visa to return to the U.S. … Acta rested 3B

Jack Hannahan, who ”tweaked” his left groin in Tuesday’s game.

Acta expects Hannahan, who is batting .291 with 16 RBIs in 26

games, will be available for Thursday’s series opener in Boston.

… Morel was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a sore

lower back. … Since the start of the 2003, White Sox pitchers

lead the majors with 815 quality starts.