White Sox fall short in loss to Verlander
Jake Peavy knew he'd have to pitch well, simply because he was facing a first-place team with its ace on the mound.
He didn't, however, see it as a one-on-one duel with Detroit's Justin Verlander.
''I'm not doing anything against Justin Verlander. Sure, you know you have to be good. But Justin Verlander and Jake Peavy had nothing to do with each other tonight,'' Peavy said after he's pitched six innings for the Chicago White Sox in a 5-4 loss to the Tigers on Tuesday night.
''You try to be good no matter who you are facing.''
Scoring four runs off Verlander - a pitcher the White Sox had beaten earlier this month in Detroit - would seem to be a sign that the White Sox were on their way to a second straight victory over the AL Central leaders.
But Wilson Betemit's clutch two-out single in the eighth drove in the go-ahead run and now Detroit leads the third-place White Sox by 4 1-2 games. Chicago had won the opener of the three-game series.
''It's tough, no doubt about it. We knew what tonight meant. We beat Verlander tonight and we have a chance to sweep those guys tomorrow. Tomorrow it turns back on us,'' Peavy said.
''It's huge for them, especially with what we have coming up this weekend and to start next week (Red Sox and Yankees.). They know. They pulled it out late and we didn't and that's just the way it goes.''
Will Ohman (0-2) issued a leadoff walk to Victor Martinez in the eighth and pinch-runner Andy Dirks stole second with Jesse Crain pitching. With two outs, Matt Thornton replaced Crain and Betemit - recently acquired from Kansas City - fouled off four pitches before hitting an RBI single to center.
''Timely hitting there at the end by Wilson,'' said Chicago's Paul Konerko, who hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth off Verlander. ''That was like a playoff game, just one at-bat like that and one timely hit and that's the game.''
Peavy gave up 10 hits and four runs in six innings, throwing 111 pitches. He gave up three runs in the sixth, on a run-scoring bloop single by Miguel Cabrera, a hard RBI single by Martinez and a sacrifice fly.
''I would say probably on 9 out of 10 nights he's going to get a win in a game like that,'' Konerko said of Peavy. ''Just not tonight.''
Konerko's two-run homer was his 24th of the season and second in as many games. He said he wasn't surprised by how hard Verlander was throwing in his final inning with one pitch clocked near 100 mph.
''I'm not amazed, I've seen him do it before,'' Konerko said. ''You know it's there.''
Peavy is still winless in five starts since he pitched four innings of relief against the Nationals on June 25.
''Ran out of gas a little bit. Went as hard as I could for as long as I could,'' Peavy said. ''But didn't have good stuff the later the game went. ... Come up with four runs on Justin Verlander. I wish I could have been better. It just wasn't meant to be tonight.''
Struggling Chicago DH Adam Dunn, who was 9 for 90 in his previous 25 games, fouled off three pitches before connecting for a long homer on a 3-2 pitch from Verlander in the first. He sent the ball 436 feet into the bleachers in right-center field to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead. He struck out in his next three at-bats.
''If you told me we are going to get four runs off Verlander tonight I probably would have taken it before the game,'' said Dunn.
Notes: Verlander had given up seven hits and five runs - four earned - in six innings while losing to the White Sox in first start after the All-Star break on July 15. ... Chicago is 14-20 against the AL Central. ... Dunn's homer was his first since July 8.