Rookie Gillaspie drives in game-winner

CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy deserves the headlines for a job well done Saturday, tossing a complete game in getting his sixth win of the season.

He can also thank the game’s hero, third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who drove in the winning run in the ninth with a walk-off single for a 2-1 victory.

Peavy was throwing a five-hit shutout when he served up a game-tying home run to Derek Dietrich with one out in the top of the ninth. After escaping further damage, the stage was set for the bottom half of the inning. Enter Gillaspie, who was facing right-hander Ryan Webb with Dewayne Wise on second base and nobody out.

The Sox’s rookie infielder drove a line single into short left field. Former White Sox outfielder Juan Pierre, who is known for having a weak arm, threw it wide as Wise crossed the plate with the winning run.

“You know, I was actually thinking pull there,” said Gillaspie, who had his first three-hit night. “Obviously that is the situation, that I should be hitting the ball to the right side. It was one of those things that happened. I guess you could say there was a little luck, too. It was a good pitch to hit.”

The White Sox have been more than lucky as of late, using the combination of good pitching, solid defense and timely hitting in this recent streak. They have won 8 of 11, pulling within one game of .500 and four games of first place in the American League Central.

While the middle of the batting order has slumped for most of the season, Gillaspie has been the club’s most pleasant surprise since getting an opportunity to play third base. With Gordon Beckham on the disabled list and Jeff Keppinger moving to second base, he has established himself as the starter and a rookie of the year candidate.

“He has a very simple approach,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He doesn’t overswing, he just tries to get it on the barrel. He has been big for us this year.”