Closing Time: Jake Peavy stellar again as Red Sox cruise to 7-2 win

Scott McLaughlin
August 31, 2013 - 6:22 pm
Jake Peavy allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings as the Red Sox cruised to a 7-2 win over the White Sox on Saturday night. Peavy has now allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, posting a 1.95 ERA over that span. He has struck out 17 and walked just two during those four games. On Saturday, he ran into some trouble in the fourth, as he was forced to throw 30 pitches in the inning. He managed to escape the inning allowing just one run, though, and that was the closest the White Sox would come to solving their former teammate. Peavy allowed just one baserunner over the next three innings before turning things over to the bullpen. "He's been everything we could've hoped for since coming over here," manager John Farrell said of Peavy. "He's worked deep in games. He's thrown a lot of strikes. He's made some big pitches in key moments when he's needed to. Even when he's got some traffic on the basepaths, he finds a way to minimize the overall damage." Peavy'€™s stellar outing helped the Red Sox hold their opponent to three runs or fewer for the 11th straight game. That marks the longest such streak for the franchise since April 1988 -- a streak that ended at 11. Furthermore, the Red Sox are now the first team to go 11 straight games allowing three runs or fewer and eight hits or fewer since the 1991 Blue Jays, who did it in 12 straight. "We expect to do that," Peavy said of the streak. "I know it's not going to happen every time out, but we've got five guys we expect that out of. I think if you ask [Felix Doubront] what he expects tomorrow, he expects to give up three runs or less. "When you expect to do that and you prepare to do that and you go out there and execute a game plan, it happens more times than not with the talent that's in this room. Obviously all streaks come to an end, but I'm happy I wasn't the guy to give it up." Offensively, the Red Sox had seven players record multi-hit games and six players record an RBI. They tagged starter John Danks for six runs on 11 hits over five innings. That marked Danks'€™ worst outing in more than a month, as he entered Saturday with a 2.90 ERA over his previous six starts. WHAT WENT RIGHT -Mike Napoli continued his recent hot streak. In six games since taking some time off to deal with his plantar fasciitis, Napoli is 8-for-24 (.333) with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs. He opened the scoring Saturday with an RBI single in the first that plated Jacoby Ellsbury. He doubled to left-center his next time up and wound up scoring on a Jonny Gomes double. Farrell said the rest a week and a half ago did seem to help Napoli. "I think that had something to do with it," Farrell said. "I think the foot issue that he was dealing with has subsided somewhat. It's not as much of a hindrance to him. But I don't think we can overlook the ability to rotate guys through there and keep him fresh." -David Ortiz built off his big hit in Friday night'€™s game by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. He also reached on an error in the first that at least had a case for being ruled a hit. -Xander Bogaerts reached base three times. He showed some big-league patience in the second when he worked a nine-pitch walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count. Bogaerts garnered high praise for his plate discipline in the minors this season, especially considering his age. He showed it really for the first time in the big leagues on Saturday, as that marked his first walk since getting called up. Bogaerts also singled and scored in the fourth, then lined an RBI single to left in the fifth. "He's got a very good understanding of the strike zone," Farrell said of Bogaerts. "You watch him from the open side, it's a very loose swing. He creates a lot of bat speed. Good-looking hitter." -David Ross went 2-for-3 in his first start in a week and third start since returning from a concussion. He doubled off the left-field wall his first time up, then reached on a bunt single and wound up scoring the second time around. He ripped a hard line drive his third time up, but third baseman Conor Gillaspie made a great diving catch. Before the game, Farrell said Ross'€™ timing at the plate was still a work in progress. Saturday night was definitely a step in the right direction. "I feel better. I'm getting my timing back," Ross said. "For a while, I wasn't seeing it at all. Being back, just working on it in BP every day and getting out there hitting every day, trying to get some extra swings. It's just constantly working. That's something I've always had to work at anyways. But it was nice to get some hits. Even the line drive, that was a good at bat. That's all I care about, just having good at bats, competitive at bats." WHAT WENT WRONG -Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-5. He did drive in a run with his groundout in the fourth, though. Also, he was hitting .379 over his last 16 games entering Saturday, so there is definitely no reason for concern here. -Will Middlebrooks was the only other Red Sox starter to not record a hit, as he went 0-for-4. Again, nothing to worry about here, though. Middlebrooks entered Saturday with a .345/.431/.509 line in 16 games since being recalled.