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CWS@CLE: Konerko's two-run homer puts White Sox ahead

CLEVELAND -- The White Sox really couldn't have asked for more from starting pitcher Jake Peavy than the dominant effort they received from the right-hander during Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field.

It wasn't perfect like former teammates Mark Buehrle or Philip Humber presented to the franchise in 2009 and 2012, respectively. In reality, Peavy's first pitch of the game was hit over the right-field wall by Michael Bourn.

After that blip, the Indians (5-6) didn't do much against the right-hander over his seven innings of work. And that sort of effort was just what was needed by a team in the throes of a miserable five-game losing streak.

Peavy fanned 11 and threw 75 of his 104 pitches for strikes. It was his 32nd career game with 10-plus strikeouts, with the last coming on June 30, 2012, at Yankee Stadium. It was Peavy's third career game with no walks and 10 or more strikeouts, and for the season, Peavy has 24 strikeouts and one walk over 18 1/3 innings.

His already intense focus went up another notch when Bourn connected on pitch No. 1.

"I didn't expect Bourn to swing there. He got me. My fault. Totally," Peavy said. "We needed to win. We understood that. I know I needed to come up with a big effort. We were focused and had a good game plan. To start the game like that after what we've been through wasn't ideal, for sure. But I definitely knew I needed to bear down and keep it right there."

"He's one of the best competitors that the league has seen. He's going to bring it every time," Bourn said of Peavy. "It looked like I got him going after I hit the ball. I hit that and he got even more fired up and he was tough on us today."

Michael Brantley added a first-inning single, but Peavy eventually struck out the side. Those final two strikeouts of Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds began a stretch of 12 straight retired. Even when that streak ended via a Ryan Raburn single in the fifth, Peavy promptly picked Raburn off first base.

That dominant starting effort from Peavy was crucial on this getaway Sunday, as the White Sox won for the first time on this three-city, 10-game road trip concluding with four games in Toronto.

"Mainly fastball, cutter today. He really had a good feel for it," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who Peavy credited for calling a good game. "He had pretty good velocity, too, doing a good job elevating late in counts. And the occasional breaking ball to certain hitters and a couple hitters. He was aggressive, he got ahead in counts and put them away."

"He's not just throwing to one side of the plate," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Peavy. "He'll mix it in on the inside part and backdoor you on the outside so I think he was just sharp today. He seemed to be hitting the glove."

But Peavy (2-1) still wasn't going to pick up career victory No. 122 without offensive support.

Paul Konerko provided that support. His 385-foot home run to left on a 3-1 pitch from Brett Myers (0-2) with two outs in the sixth scored Adam Dunn, who had walked, and erased the Indians' 1-0 advantage. Myers entered the game with 14 earned runs and seven home runs allowed in 10 1/3 innings, but he held the White Sox scoreless until that Konerko at-bat.

"You try to climb and come every day and get better," said Konerko, who has two homers and eight RBIs. "It was good today to do something that actually mattered within the game. It was nice to get Jake a win. He pitched really well today. He shut down a team that swung the bats really well yesterday."

"Who better than our captain who had been struggling a bit to come up with a big hit?" Peavy said. "That's why he is who he is."

Alejandro De Aza added a solo homer leading off the eighth against reliever Vinnie Pestano. Four of De Aza's career 16 homers have come at Progressive Field.

The White Sox put the first two runners on in the fourth via singles from Jeff Keppinger and Alex Rios, but couldn't dent the scoreboard against Myers. Conor Gillaspie singled and Flowers doubled in the fifth, with Flowers breaking a 0-for-22 funk, but the White Sox didn't score again with Gillaspie being thrown out stealing before the double.

Ultimately, they had enough to take a victory into Monday's game against their old friend and one-time franchise staple. They also had a little luck working in conjunction with Peavy and Konerko's excellence.

Addison Reed, who has four saves and one win among the five White Sox victories, sort of missed his location on a final change-up to Jason Giambi as the tying run hitting with two outs in the ninth. Giambi missed the chance to tie the game by flying out deep to center.

"I'm lucky it stayed in the park. It definitely wasn't the best pitch I've thrown in my life," said a smiling Reed, who walked pinch-hitter Carlos Santana before Giambi. "Especially with first base open, it was supposed to be down. It definitely wasn't down.

"Awesome performance by Peavy. It's nice to get back on the winning side."

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