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Peavy fans four over seven strong innings

BOSTON -- John Farrell's words proved prophetic.

"I don't think Jake needs many pointers going into tonight," the Red Sox manager said hours before right-hander Jake Peavy pitched against the White Sox, the team from which the Red Sox acquired him on July 30. "I always think [the familiarity] goes back to swinging in favor of the pitcher because he's the one that knows the pitch selection and the location in which he's intending to go to."

Peavy indeed managed just fine, limiting the White Sox to two runs on five hits in seven innings en route to the 7-2 Red Sox win, their sixth in the last seven games. He walked one and struck out four while throwing 68 of his 109 pitches for strikes as his team clinched its Major League-best 28th series of the year.

Farrell trusted Peavy, who was at 99 pitches after six innings, with one more frame, and that faith was rewarded. Peavy allowed a harmless two-out single in a 10-pitch inning that included two flyouts to the warning track to conclude his night.

The strong outing lowered Peavy's ERA to 3.18 and WHIP to 0.96 in six starts since joining the Red Sox.

"He's been everything we could've hoped for since coming over here," Farrell said. "He's worked deep in games, he's thrown a lot of strikes, he's made some big pitches in key moments when he's needed and even when he's got some traffic on the basepaths, he finds a way to minimize the overall damage."

Peavy's outing -- which he was only moderately pleased with overall, saying he didn't have great stuff and didn't get ahead as much as he would've liked -- was the 11th in a row in which the Red Sox starter allowed three or fewer earned runs. The team hasn't done that in 12 straight games since 1915.

"The stretch that we're on, we walk on the field with a lot of confidence knowing the game is going to be under control from the start," Farrell said.

Coincidentally, one of the times Chicago did get to Peavy, one of the newer White Sox did the damage. Center fielder Avisail Garcia, who came over from the Tigers in that same deal, struck for an RBI single in the fourth.

Other than that, though, Peavy had the upper hand. He held Adam Dunn to an 0-for-3 night with a walk and a strikeout swinging at an 85-mph fastball in the fourth.

"Adam is my best friend in the world, so it was different for sure," said a smiling Peavy, who planned to go out to dinner with several of his former teammates after the game. "I threw him some good pitches, and I threw him some pitches he fouled off that he probably could have done something with. But it's always nice when you come out on top when you don't have to listen to it."

Added Dunn: "That's kind of a bad thing about being a buddy with a pitcher. They get traded and everything you've told them, it's not very good. He had a good game plan and when he executed, that's what happens.

When Peavy did falter -- the White Sox scored a single run in each of the third and fourth innings -- his offense picked him up almost immediately, battering Chicago lefty John Danks for six runs (five earned) on 11 hits in five innings.

The third inning featured back-to-back two-out doubles from Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes before the Red Sox took the lead for good with a three-run fourth.

Jacoby Ellsbury knocked a ground-rule double to right to plate David Ross, who bunted for a single to open the frame. Dustin Pedroia grounded out to the right side to bring in Xander Bogaerts, then David Ortiz lined a single to left to score Ellsbury and bring the lead to 5-2.

Bogaerts (2-for-3, walk) added insurance with an RBI single in the fifth, as did Shane Victorino, scoring on a wild pitch in the sixth.

Seven Red Sox batters posted multi-hit games, including Ortiz, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of line-drive singles a day after snapping his six-game hitless streak.

Napoli got the scoring started in the first inning with a single to left to score Ellsbury, his seventh RBI in six games since returning from a bout of plantar fasciitis. It was also his 76th of the season, a new career high.

Now at 81-56, the Red Sox await Sept. 1 reinforcements as they hope the final stretch of this regular season is far different from the last two. Farrell doesn't expect the recent history to be a problem.

"The record to date speaks to the depth and the evenness of this team," he said. "Our starting rotation has been very consistent. Our lineup up and down, one through nine, has got a grind-it-out approach that allows us to get to bullpens, sometimes earlier in the game maybe than some others.

"The reason this team has performed so well is just the overall depth. And that doesn't stop at the 25-man roster."

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