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Peavy, homers give White Sox rare sweep

August 7, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Given their recent struggles against the Twins, a trip to Target Field didn’t exactly seem like the best solution for the White Sox and their six-game losing streak.

But when they left the Twin Cities on Sunday, the White Sox had completed their first three-game sweep of the Twins in more than five years with a 7-0 victory.

“After that last stretch, we could’ve come in here with our heads hung low and we could’ve mailed it in against a team that really has had our number,” said right-hander Jake Peavy, who was nearly unhittable against the Twins.

“We came in here, we played hard and watched the chips fall where they may, and we came out with three wins. We feel fortunate, but we know we’ve got to make a hard, hard push, and three games isn’t enough if we’re going to make a race out of this.”

Backed by four home runs and a three-run fourth, Peavy delivered his best start since May, while picking up his first win since June.

Allowing just three hits with six strikeouts and no walks, Peavy tossed eight scoreless innings. It was just the second time this season Peavy has gone eight or more innings, with the other being a three-hit shutout against the Indians in his second start of the season on May 18.

“Peavy threw the ball well,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. “The thing about him today, he was throwing more strikes, he was around the plate more, and I think that’s the reason he had that type of game.”

The Twins sent no more than four batters to the plate in an inning against Peavy, who retired the side in order in the second, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

It was Peavy’s first scoreless outing and his first win since tossing four shutout innings in relief on June 25 against the Nationals. Peavy also won for the first time as a starter since June 22 against the Cubs.

“He was just mixing up all his pitches and making you chase,” said Twins right fielder Jason Kubel. “He’d also get you looking at some good pitches, too. So he was using his sinker, his cutter, his curveball and changeup effectively. I mean, everything was effective, so it was a pretty good job from him today.”

After giving up a double in the first to Joe Mauer, and back-to-back singles in the third, Peavy retired the last 10 batters he faced and 17 of the last 18.

Peavy allowed more than one baserunner in an inning just once, in the third inning. The only baserunner he allowed after that came in the fifth, when he hit Matt Tolbert in the foot with a curveball.

“Just changed speeds, I threw the ball anywhere from 70 mph to about 90,” Peavy said. “I threw some cutters, threw breaking balls, changeups. I was just aggressive. I just can’t stand putting people on base. My stuff was OK, but it makes all the difference in the world when you get a two-, three-run lead early.”

Making his first career start at first base, Brent Lillibridge put the White Sox on the board with a 401-foot solo blast in the second inning. Paul Konerko followed with a solo shot of his own to lead off the fourth, and Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios each doubled and scored as the White Sox took control of the game.

In the seventh inning, Alexei Ramirez added a two-run blast off reliever Alex Burnett for good measure, and Rios put another in the seats an inning later off lefty Jose Mijares. Everyone in the White Sox lineup had at least one hit in the game, while six different players scored a run.

“We have great players here,” Rios said. “We had a good series, everybody did a good job. That’s what we need to get things rolling.”

Twins lefty Brian Duensing lasted 6 1/3 innings, but gave up five runs (four earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts and a walk.

Coming into the weekend, the White Sox had beaten the Twins just once all season, while losing 10 of their last 11 against their division rivals. The sweep of the Twins was the first for the White Sox in a three-game series since April 21-23, 2006, and it’s the first for Chicago in Minnesota since June 29-July 1, 2004.

“Finally, we played better against them,” Guillen said. “Every time we come to town, every time we face these guys, they give us a very tough time. It’s just fun to see those guys play the way they did, especially against this ballclub.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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