Red Sox-White Sox Preview
- Cabrera hits 3 HRs, but Tigers lose
- Rays' Moore improves to 8-0, beats O's
- Masterson Ks 11, M's Hernandez hit hard
- Lackey leads BoSox to fifth straight win
- Braves score 4 in 8th to sweep Dodgers
By MATT BROWN
(AP) -- It's taken nearly three years, but Jake Peavy is finally giving the Chicago White Sox the kind of production they expected when they acquired him.
He'll face a stiff challenge Saturday night.
Peavy seeks to serve as stopper for the White Sox as he takes the mound to face a Boston Red Sox team that has won five straight while seemingly scoring at will.
The unanimous NL Cy Young award winner when he went 19-6 with a 2.54 ERA for San Diego in 2007, Peavy (3-0, 1.88 ERA) figured to become the ace of the White Sox (10-10) after they traded for him at the deadline in 2009. Instead, he was hampered by ankle, shoulder and groin injuries, and when he did take the mound, the right-hander pitched nothing like an ace - going 14-13 with a 4.77 ERA in 36 appearances over the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Peavy seems to be back to his old self this April, limiting opponents to a .172 batting average and riding a 14-inning scoreless streak. He has won his last three starts, including a three-hitter in Monday's 4-0 victory at Oakland in which he threw 107 pitches and faced four batters more than the minimum.
"I kind of expect it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It might be unfair to say stuff like that but he's that good."
Peavy now has a chance to win four straight starts for the first time as a member of the White Sox. He did win his final outing for San Diego on June 8, 2009, and his first three starts for Chicago that September.
Extending his current winning and scoreless streaks won't be easy. The Red Sox (9-10) have plated 10 runs in each of the first two contests of this weekend's four-game set. They've totaled 44 during their five-game winning streak, and are batting .357 with 12 homers, 18 doubles and 8.8 runs per game over their last six.
All five wins have come on the road, after the Red Sox blew a 9-0 lead against the New York Yankees last Saturday en route to their fifth straight loss - prompting manager Bobby Valentine to say the club had "hit bottom."
"When we lost that game when we were up 9-0 at that point it was the bottom it felt like," Boston outfielder Cody Ross said. "It was nice to get away from that. Get on the road.
"In baseball, I think it really doesn't matter. A lot of times, it's nice to have the home crowd behind you, but when you're struggling as a team, sometimes it's nice to just get away and it's been helpful for us. But it's something that is rare what we're doing."
Darnell McDonald and David Ortiz both homered Friday, and McDonald's three-run double snapped a sixth-inning tie as Boston went on to win 10-3. Ortiz, who also singled to raise his season average to .425, is tied with Jim Rice and Frank Howard for 59th on the career home run list.
Probable Red Sox starter Jon Lester (0-2, 6.00) will try again for his first win after yielding 12 runs over his last two starts. He gave up five runs, six hits and four walks in seven innings Monday, not getting a decision in Boston's 6-5 victory over Minnesota.
Lester is 0-5 with a 7.01 ERA in eight outings dating to last Sept. 11, the longest winless drought of the left-hander's career.
Paul Konerko went 2 for 4 with a homer for the White Sox on Friday, his fourth homer in his last seven contests and fifth multihit game in that span. He is 7 for 18 (.389) with three homers off Lester.
Updated April 28, 2012