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Sox show signs of hope in yet another loss

CHICAGO -- When you remain stuck in the mud, three games under .500 with two months to play, moral victories have their place.

The White Sox weren’t shouting for joy at almost beating CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees on Monday night, but there were positives in a third consecutive defeat.

Jake Peavy’s outing was the biggest reason for optimism as the right-hander delivered one of his best performances of the season. Shaky defense, namely from Adam Dunn at first base in the early going, was an issue as was the continued lack of run support.

But Peavy was able to reverse a trend -- or perhaps a few of them -- in Monday’s outing.

For starters, it was the rare time that Peavy actually seemed to get stronger as the game went on, looking far more effective in the later innings than he did in the early going when the Yankees scored three times in the first three innings.

Then there was the 75-pitch hurdle that Peavy cleared with ease as he delivered a season-high 115 pitches and still seemed to have more in the tank when he was removed after going seven innings.

“Tonight I tried to pace myself and felt a little bit better going deeper into the ballgame, and that’s a great sign,” Peavy said. “I’m excited about it. I didn’t pitch as well as I can pitch tonight, but I had pretty good stuff. A lot of guys will take that on any given night it’s just not going to get you many wins when you’re going against CC Sabathia and the Yankees.”

But the White Sox are still waiting for breaks to go their way. The first issue was the injury to Paul Konerko, when he was hit in the left knee in Sunday’s game and couldn’t play Monday. That meant that Adam Dunn had to play against a left-hander.

Dunn not only had three more strikeouts to give him 137 on the season, he struggled on defense and the Yankees took advantage with two first-inning runs.

“I made some good pitches early,” Peavy said. “That game could have flipped-flopped early and gone our way. The ball didn’t bounce our way and it bounced theirs. That’s the bottom line.”

In that light, Peavy’s outing sure seems to have value for a White Sox team that needs something to feel positive about.

More will be known about Peavy and if he really is getting his top form back when he faces the Twins over the weekend at Minnesota. With Edwin Jackson traded last week, Peavy will have to start on four days rest.

“A loss is a loss, it’s tough any time you lose, and you know you have to be good against a guy like [Sabathia],” Peavy said. “We gave up a couple early that cost us the game, but I felt OK. It’s a tough lineup, when they run seven straight lefties against you tonight. Not fun. We battled, made some good pitches and some not so good pitches. It’s just another tough loss.”