Jake Peavy was in the clubhouse in the eighth inning, so he didn’t see David Ortiz’s three-run blast, which proved to be the difference in the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Rangers Wednesday afternoon. He also did not reap the benefits of Ortiz’s shot in his personal win column. That matters little to the righthander.
“We won today,” Peavy said. “Yeah, I’m more [concerned with] the team win on my fifth day.’’
For second time in as many starts, Peavy had a quality start with nothing to show for it.
Although he struggled with command at times Saturday against the Brewers, he had none of those issues against the Rangers.
He went 6⅔ innings, giving up one run on three hits and four walks with eight strikeouts, matching his high with the Red Sox. He gave up a first-pitch double to Shin-Soo Choo, along with a two-out walk to Alex Rios before striking out Mitch Moreland to end the first.
“He did well. A lot of strike ones, which is really nice,” said catcher David Ross. “Other than Choo hitting that first hit he was pretty much unhittable early on.”
After the Sox were swept by the Brewers to open the homestand, and in danger of losing the series to the Rangers, Peavy knew it was important to give his team a good effort before a seven-game trip to New York and Chicago.
“I knew coming in that was a big start,” he said. “Every start’s big but you recognize on those days, you do recognize that your team needs a big effort.”
After the first inning, Peavy kept the Rangers hitless until Leonys Martin’s infield single with one out in the fifth. The only base runner he allowed in that stretch was Choo on a walk in the third.
“He had numerous pitches working, from slider to changeup to cutter, to two-seamer,” said one scout. “He’s a big competitor. He never gave in, kept coming at them. He looked good.”
But it was Moreland — a bit of a Peavy nemesis in their limited history — who got the better of the matchup later in the game. Entering the game, Moreland had been 3 for 6 with two home runs and five RBIs against Peavy.
Leading off the seventh, Moreland took a 2-and-0 fastball and drove it into the visitors’ bullpen, tying the game. After a two-out walk to Robinson Chirinos, Peavy was done.
“I felt good,” Peavy said. “It was frustrating, not being able to finish the seventh. Overall, I had good stuff, good command of most stuff.”
Peavy struck out the side — Prince Fielder, Rios, and Moreland — in the fourth. It was the first time he has struck out the side since May 19, 2013, while with the White Sox at the Angels. Including Moreland to end the first, seven of the next nine outs were by the K.
It was the 95th time Peavy has recorded at least eight strikeouts.
Against the Rangers he recorded two strikeouts on fastballs, three on curveballs, two on sliders, and one on a changeup. Peavy and catcher David Ross put an emphasis on using the righthander’s secondary pitches early against the Rangers, who entered the game third in the American League with .277 average. It was effective, with an assist from the last afternoon shadows at Fenway .
“Yeah, the 4 o’clock game you can do that because it’s so hard to see out there,” Ross said. “Four o’clock games should be outlawed. It’s really tough to see.”
“He was outstanding. Second start in a row for him I thought he had good stuff, a lot of strikes,” said manager John Farrell. “With no margin for error all day, I thought Jake made a number of quality pitches here.”
Peavy is undefeated in his last nine regular-season starts since Aug.20, 2013, going 3-0 with a 3.34 ERA. In two starts this season, he has gone 12⅔ innings, giving up three runs on nine hits, including two home runs, and six walks with 12 strikeouts and 2.13 ERA. His record, though, remains where it was at the start of the season, 0-0. That’s OK with him.
“Shoot, I feel like I got the win today just as much as the 24 other guys feel the same,” he said.