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BAL@CWS: Peavy pitches seven frames of one-run ball

CHICAGO -- Jake Peavy summed up his feelings in a text sent out following Wednesday's 8-1 victory over the Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I feel blessed," the text said. Peavy has reason to feel this way after his seven stellar innings of mound-work ended a three-game losing streak for the White Sox and gave the right-hander two wins in three starts.

"That's the word I used," said Peavy, who gave up just one run on four hits over seven innings, while throwing 108 pitches and fanning eight. "I know it's been a long grind with the fans and everybody to get me to this point, but I am healthy.

"I don't know what I can or can't be after what I've gone through, but I can promise you my effort and preparation is going to be there. When you go out there healthy, you have a better chance of executing than when you're not and worrying about everything else but that. I feel very blessed to hopefully stay this way for the majority of this year and give my team a quality effort every fifth day."

As White Sox manager Robin Ventura pointed out, Peavy's energy and dominance set the tone for this game. His teammates fed off that tone behind him over nine innings.

Baltimore jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second, but the White Sox fought right back with A.J. Pierzynski's two-run home run off Tommy Hunter in the bottom half of the frame. It was Pierzynski's fourth home run and extended his hitting streak to seven games, while his 13 RBIs stand tied with Nick Swisher for the American League lead.

When Pierzynski singled in the third, helping produce a third run for the White Sox, he had knocked out eight hits in his last 10 at-bats. But it was pitch location on Pierzynski's long ball that had Hunter upset after the loss, angry enough where more than a few profanities found their way in to his description of the fastball Pierzynski launched.

"It was a ball right down the middle of the plate that any big league hitter would be able to do that," said Hunter, who allowed all eight runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings. "I'm not taking anything away from Pierzynski. He put a good swing on it, tip your cap. But it was [horrible] on my part."

Nothing was horrible about the White Sox offense, which produced 11 hits. Three hits and four runs came in the sixth, with the biggest blow coming off the bat of Adam Dunn, who fell behind at 1-2 in the count against reliever Troy Patton but then lined a 3-2 pitch into the left-field corner for a three-run double.

Dunn ended a stretch of 29 consecutive at-bats without a walk in the third inning and ended up walking three times on the night. The double against Patton was Dunn's first hit off a southpaw in 16 at-bats this season, and his biggest focus of that at-bat was to not pull the pitch.

"That's where I get myself in trouble," Dunn said. "I try to pull the ball more than I should. I had no clue what he was going to throw me and I just tried to throw the ball out there, and it worked."

Alejandro De Aza homered in the fourth, and Gordon Beckham drove home the first run of the sixth inning with a single to left. It was Beckham's first RBI of the season, and he followed with an eighth-inning single that raised his average more than 60 points in two at-bats.

About the only issue on the negative side of the ledger for the White Sox was Brent Morel, who continued to struggle in the lineup's two-slot. Morel struck out three times and finished 0-for-5 to drop his average to .103. Beckham's first-hand words of wisdom, along with Ventura's support, should prove valuable in handling this prolonged slump for the third baseman.

"We've talked a lot lately, and he's got to stay positive," said Beckham of Morel. "I'm the poster child for what he's going through right now, so I'm definitely talking to him and just keeping him positive.

"There's not much luck for him right now when he does hit it hard. Some of the same goes for me. We have to keep putting it in play and hope good things happen. He's a great player and he's going to be fine."

Three highlight-reel defensive plays from shortstop Alexei Ramirez supported Peavy, but the right-hander did much of the work in conjunction with Pierzynski behind the plate. He had good fastball command but also kept the Orioles off-stride with his offspeed pitches.

"You got to pick your team up when you've had a few tough ones like we had," Peavy said. "But just try to take it personal and give your team the best chance to win."

"Everything gets so magnified because of the way Peavy's pitching," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "You know runs are going to be at a premium."

Remember how bad those last three innings of Monday's come-from-ahead loss to Baltimore looked for the White Sox? Or how about the immense frustration of falling short in the ninth Tuesday against closer Jim Johnson?

Well, Wednesday's rout might have put that finish out of the minds of White Sox fans -- at least temporarily.

"There's nothing we can do about the past," Beckham said. "But we came out tonight and put it on them. That was important."

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