Rapid Reaction: Rays 3, White Sox 2

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
10:27
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago White Sox's 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.

How it happened: The White Sox and Rays were doing battle in must-win games for both playoff contenders. Jake Peavy and James Shields matched up in the first of four crucial games between the two teams. Tampa Bay got on the board in the fourth inning as Ben Zobrist doubled to lead off the inning and scored one out later on a Carlos Pena sacrifice fly. Chicago pushed across the tying run in its half of the inning when Dayan Viciedo was hit by Shields with the bases loaded, scoring Adam Dunn. Peavy surrendered a long home run to Luke Scott -- his 14th -- to lead off the fifth. The White Sox loaded the bases for the second consecutive inning with nobody out and managed to score only one run again, with Paul Konerko’s double-play grounder scoring Alejandro De Aza. Peavy gave the Sox a much-needed long outing, getting a no-decision with 7 1/3 innings of two-run, four-hit baseball. Evan Longoria's home run in the ninth inning with one out came off of Brett Myers.

What it means: Chicago drops to two games out in the Central division race. The Sox had to hold serve to keep pace with the first-place Tigers. Detroit defeated Kansas City 5-4 in an afternoon game. There are three more games left with Tampa at home and three with Cleveland in Ohio to end the season. With the victory, Tampa Bay has won seven straight and is two games out of the second wild card.

Outside the box: Peavy had not beaten any team except Minnesota since July 6 -- four wins against the Twins since then. Manager Robin Ventura has yet to name a starting pitcher for Sunday's game. Left-hander David Price, a 19-game winner, will pitch for Tampa Bay.

Up next: RHP Gavin Floyd (10-11, 4.56 ERA) goes to the mound for the White Sox versus RHP Jeremy Hellickson (9-10, 3.20).

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.292 29 74 52
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 29
RBIJ. Abreu 74
RJ. Abreu 52
OPSJ. Abreu .959
WC. Sale 9
ERAC. Sale 2.03
SOJ. Quintana 118