CLEVELAND — Jake Peavy coasted for six innings before giving up a run in the seventh and Adam Dunn homered, leading the Chicago White Sox to an easy 8-1 win over the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night and a split of their four-game series.
Peavy (4-1) allowed seven hits, struck out five and had little difficulty with the Indians, who didn’t get a runner past second until the seventh. The right-hander has been overpowering in his last five starts, posting a 1.36 ERA.
Dunn connected for his 10th homer, a two-run shot, in the first inning off Jeanmar Gomez (2-2) and the White Sox added six runs in the fourth off Cleveland’s starter, who was tagged for eight runs and nine hits — eight singles.
Alexei Ramirez had three hits and Alejandro De Aza drove in two runs for the White Sox.
After playing in seven straight games decided by two runs or fewer, the White Sox finally had an easy one.
They were swept in a day-night doubleheader on Monday, but bounced back to take the final two games in the series. Chicago improved to 14-5 in its last 19 games at Progressive Field.
Peavy was only in trouble once before the seventh.
Travis Hafner led off Cleveland’s second with a single, and one out later, Shin Soo-Choo singled. Michael Brantley followed by hitting a line drive up the middle that Peavy somehow caught against his stomach before throwing to first to force Choo for an inning-ending double play.
Brantley just shook his head and laughed as he headed back to the dugout.
Peavy made it look easy until his final inning, when the Indians finally strung together some quality at-bats.
Dunn’s homer was really all Peavy needed.
After the start of the game was delayed for 64 minutes by rain that never arrived, Gomez walked De Aza leading off. One out later, Dunn drove a 1-0 pitch deep into the lower seats in right, the burly designated hitter’s sixth homer in the last 11 games.
Dunn would later strike out in his 36th consecutive game, which according research done by the Indians, is the longest streak since Bob Veale (1967-68).
The White Sox added six runs in the fourth, torturing Gomez by going base to base with hard-hit singles and a pair of walks to open an 8-0 lead.
A.J. Pierzynski, Ramirez and Eduardo Escobar each hit RBI singles before De Aza drove in two runs with a single to center. Gordon Beckham followed with a sinking liner to left that Johnny Damon snared with a diving catch for the second out, but Escobar alertly tagged and scored to cap the inning.
As Gomez struggled, Indians manager Manny Acta elected not to get anyone up in his overworked bullpen.
Peavy also allowed White Sox manager Robin Ventura to rest his relievers. Before the game, the club announced that new closer Chris Sale would undergo an MRI on his sore left elbow Thursday in Chicago. Sale was recently moved from the starting rotation into the closer’s role because of tenderness in his elbow.
Ventura insisted the move is precautionary at this point, but the team won’t really know until it gets test results on the 23-year-old Sale.
NOTES: The Indians remain uncertain about RHP Roberto Hernandez’s future. Formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez remains in the Dominican Republic, where he was arrested in January on identity fraud charges. Acta said Hernandez’s representatives thought he would have rejoined the club by now, but he’s been unable to get a work visa to return to the U.S. ... Acta rested 3B Jack Hannahan, who “tweaked” his left groin in Tuesday’s game. Acta expects Hannahan, who is batting .291 with 16 RBIs in 26 games, will be available for Thursday’s series opener in Boston. ... White Sox 3B Brent Morel was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a sore lower back. ... Since the start of the 2003, White Sox pitchers lead the majors with 815 quality starts.