CLEVELAND — It appeared Michael Bourn had gotten the Indians off on the right foot when he connected on a home run on the first pitch from Chicago’s Jake Peavy on Sunday at Progressive Field.
But it only seemed to inspire the right-hander.
Peavy shook off Bourn’s early blast and pitched masterfully after to help the White Sox to a sweep-stopping 3-1 victory over the Indians. Paul Konerko’s two-run home run off Cleveland starter Brett Myers that broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning was the difference.
“I got him going after I hit that one,” said Bourn, whose team didn’t score another run and managed just four more hits off Peavy over the rest of his seven-inning effort. “I fired him up. I think he’s one of the game’s best competitors. You know he’s going to bring it every time.”
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After allowing a one-out infield single to Michael Brantley in the opening inning, Peavy retired 12 straight before Ryan Raburn’s one-out base hit in the fifth. Of Peavy’s 11 strikeouts, six came over his final four innings of work.
“Bournie kind of ambushed him at the beginning, but after that …,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s just a good veteran pitcher.”
“He’s a competitor,” designated hitter Jason Giambi said of Peavy. “He was out there just pumping strikes and keeping us off balance.”
The Indians finally got a positive outing from right-hander Brett Myers and wasted the effort.
Myers, who was brutal in his debut start and in a subsequent relief appearance, allowed two runs on six hits, while striking out four over six innings. He entered the outing having allowed 14 runs on 18 hits (seven homers) over 10 1/3 innings.
“That’s the guy you’re looking for, pitching to contact and keeping guys off balance,” Francona said. “That was good. For him, it’s always going to be locating his fastball.
“I believe in him. I just thought he needed to do some things better, and you saw that today.”
Myers opened with five straight scoreless innings before making one big mistake to Konerko with two outs in the sixth. After walking Adam Dunn, Myers fell behind Konerko 3-1 and had to groove a fastball that Chicago’s designated hitter deposited into the left-field bleachers.
“I was really encouraged,” Myers said. “I got the ball down today. I felt comfortable. Just one pitch cost me.”
Myers, who is pitching for a new team on a one-year, $7 million contract, said despite the slow start, his confidence never wavered.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” said the 10-year veteran. “I’ve had seasons when I’ve struggled. It’s one of those things you have to figure out quickly, so you don’t have it going all the way to the all-star break.
“I knew what the problem was. It wasn’t my stuff. It was my location.”
Konerko was a likely candidate to beat the Indians. The 15-year veteran leads all active players with 47 homers and 173 RBIs against Cleveland.
Thanks to a quality effort from their rotation, the Indians had the opportunity to sweep their first Central Division series of the season.
“They won the battle today,” said Bourn, who left the game with a laceration to his right index finger that he sustained during a head-first slide into first base in the eighth inning. “But we won the series.”
“It gave us a chance to win all three games, and that’s a good way to play,” Francona said of his starting staff. “When you get consistent starting pitching, that’s when your ballclub looks crisp.”
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Boston
- WHEN: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.
- WHERE: Progressive Field
- PITCHERS: Jimenez (0-1, 6.97 ERA) vs. Doubront (0-0, 5.40)
- TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM