White Sox-Royals Preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) -- It's two years to the day since Jake Peavy underwent a unique surgery that reattached a tendon to the back of his shoulder and essentially saved his career.
Fully recovered, Peavy looks to surpass his win total from each of the last two seasons and help the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox hand the Kansas City Royals a fifth straight loss Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
In his first full season with Chicago in 2010, Peavy (7-5, 2.85 ERA) went 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA while muddling through 17 starts before he suffered a detached muscle behind his right shoulder. Peavy underwent an experimental procedure to fix the problem on July 14 of that season. He returned the following May, but finished 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA in 2011.
Finally comfortable again in 2012, Peavy earned his fourth career All-Star nod by going 7-5 with a 2.85 ERA in 17 starts prior to the break for a White Sox (48-38) team that has now opened up a three-game division lead over Cleveland.
Chicago's 9-8, 14-inning victory at Kansas City (37-48) on Friday was the club's 12th in 16 games.
"We are going to show up and go about each day the right way and pour our heart and souls into it and let the chips fall where they may," Peavy told the White Sox's official website.
The right-hander takes the same approach to his pitching. His teammates supported him with two total runs during a stretch from June 13-30 when Peavy went 0-4 despite a 2.70 ERA. That skid ended July 6 when he gave up a solo homer and four other hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 victory over Toronto.
"He could have nine, 10, 11 wins right now if we could've scored some runs for him," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
Chicago has scored just one run while Peavy has posted a 3.43 ERA during a personal three-game road skid. He's 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his career at Kauffman Stadium.
Kevin Youkilis delivered a sacrifice fly in the 14th early Saturday morning to help the White Sox win their second straight in Kansas City since losing five in a row there. Pierzynski had four hits while Adam Dunn hit his 26th homer and Alex Rios added his 13th.
Rios is batting .426 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his last 16 games, while Youkilis has driven in 15 runs in 14 games since Chicago acquired him from Boston.
Rios, however, is 3 for 20 against scheduled Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar (6-8, 5.14), who is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in his last five starts. The right-hander allowed a two-run homer over five innings of a 9-6 win at Toronto on July 5, his most recent outing.
Hochevar is 1-4 with a 6.57 ERA in seven home starts, but that victory came the last time he took the mound there, an 8-0 seven-hitter over Tampa Bay on June 25 for his first complete game since 2010.
He gave up three hits in seven innings of a 5-0 victory at Chicago on May 12 to improve to 4-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 10 career starts against the White Sox.
Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon each had three hits for Kansas City on Friday, but the Royals lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
"We had a couple of situations to put it away, but didn't," manager Ned Yost said.
Francoeur is 8 for 21 lifetime versus Peavy. Teammate Mike Moustakas has homered in two of his last three games but is 0 for 8 against the former NL Cy Young award winner.
Updated July 14, 2012