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White Sox post second straight shutout

September 6, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s still unclear whether Jake Peavy will start again this season for the White Sox. But if Tuesday’s start was his last, it was not a bad way to finish off a tough year.

Peavy followed a pair of impressive performances by Philip Humber and Zach Stewart on Monday with one of his own as the White Sox picked up their third straight win and back-to-back shutouts with a 3-0 victory over the Twins at Target Field.

“I had a good game plan,” Peavy said. “I followed from what the boys did yesterday and scratched out enough to call it a win.

“I’m not pleased anytime I got out there and go 6 1/3, but at the same time, it’s a shutout win for the boys. And after all I’ve been through this year, I’ll take that any day of the week.”

Peavy, who continues to work his way back from last year’s major shoulder surgery, allowed just four hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out a season-high nine batters, while retiring nine in a row and 15 of 18 at one point. The last time Peavy had at least nine strikeouts was June 25, 2010, when he also had nine against the Cubs.

“Tonight, it was Peavy. … He had all his pitches working for him,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “He had a great fastball and a great breaking ball. I think you saw that. And we struck out 14 times tonight, and that’s not going to work out too awful well.”

While the White Sox did move into second place on Tuesday with their win and the Indians’ loss, the Tigers still own an eight-game lead in the American League Central. Detroit’s magic number is down to 14 with only 20 games left to play, and 22 left for Chicago.

With such a large deficit to overcome, and with five other White Sox starters available, Peavy is likely to be shut down early at some point. The question is how soon it will come.

“I’ll let those guys make that decision,” Peavy said. “All I can do is be honest with them about the way I feel. Obviously, now it doesn’t seem like we’re playing for much.”

While he is far from 100 percent, Peavy said he still feels good enough to make his next start if called upon to do so.

“I could go either way,” Peavy said. “Whatever they see fit and what they want me to do, I’m going to do that.

“I don’t feel as strong as I’ve ever felt by any means. There’s no doubt I feel worn down and tired. It’s been a grind, there’s no doubt about it. And we knew this season would be.”

Through the first three games of the series, the White Sox have allowed just one run on 14 hits. Their starting pitchers have gone 3-0, allowing 11 hits over 22 1/3 scoreless innings.

The White Sox got on the board in the second inning after Adam Dunn walked, advanced to second on a groundout, and scored on Alejandro De Aza’s RBI single to left. Alex Rios made it 2-0 in the fourth with his ninth home run.

De Aza led off the fifth with a triple and scored one batter later on Brent Morel’s RBI single.

Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks delivered a quality start in his Major League debut, giving up just three runs on four hits over seven innings. Hendriks struck out four batters and walked three.

White Sox closer Sergio Santos posted his 29th save with a clean ninth.

After struggling in his past two outings, Santos bounced back by getting two called third strikes and a flyout to center field.

“We got beat up pretty good down in Detroit,” Santos said. “To come to Minnesota, against a team that we usually don’t play well against, and to be able to put some runs up and pitch really well, we’re playing really good baseball right now. So hopefully, we can just finish off this year right.”

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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