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Wednesday, June 22, 2011
White Sox players downplay spat

By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Well that was awkward.

The White Sox won the series against the rival Cubs with a 4-3 victory Wednesday all while Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski seemed to be at odds during the game. Then the two combatants diffused the situation afterward with humor.

"Me and A.J. were actually arguing over who was the hunter," Peavy said. "A.J. went on a safari this winter. I claimed to be a real hunter although I can't say I have been out of the States. He's harvested a ... lion and I have harvested whitetail deer. We were kind of going over that. You know how that story goes."

Pierzynski had a different take. But of course he did.

"Well we were talking about Alabama versus Florida," Pierzynski said. "He has bragging rights because Alabama beat them the last couple times. That's about it."

The White Sox will file this one under the boys-will-be-boys category.

Obvious signs of a disagreement started when Peavy was removed in the sixth inning after giving up a home run to Carlos Pena and putting runners on the corners with one out and the White Sox clinging to a two-run lead.

Peavy jabbed his index finger back toward the mound, where Pierzynski was standing, as he walked off the field. When reliever Chris Sale limited the damage by allowing just one more run to score and preserving the lead, Peavy and Pierzynski had a brief discussion in the tunnel leading from the dugout to the clubhouse.

Leave it to manager Ozzie Guillen to be the voice of reason ... sort of.

"I always say when two white guys fight, the foreigners stay away from that," said Guillen, a native of Venezuela. "I just got my (citizenship) two years ago. I want to stay away from that."

Guillen suggested that the players might have been at odds over pitch selection, although Peavy denied that.

"I hope they hate each other and they get me a ring," Guillen said. "We don't come here to make friends, we come here to win games. As long as this thing doesn't carry over to the next start or the next game. We were just laughing about it. I'm not trying to cover anybody's back about it. I don't think it will be any issue on the ballclub.

"But if I am going to have a fight in the clubhouse and the dugout every day and we win this thing I will put the ring on myself. Put the gloves on and starting fighting on the field and off the field. I get paid to win games, I don't get paid to make friends."

Peavy was making his first start after coming off his second stint on the disabled list this season. He was struggling to find his curveball and said it was a battle throughout, but he gave up just three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings to get the victory.

Pierzynski also proved to be a key contributor with a two-run triple in a three-run fourth inning, his first triple in the past 310 games going back to May 2009.

"Listen, we were just competing and that's going to happen from time to time," Peavy said. "We're both very passionate people. It was nothing. Absolutely. A.J. won us a ballgame tonight and there is no ill will. There's nothing. It's part of playing a game and being part of a team."

Pierzynski at least had no argument with that.

"We're fine," Pierzynski said. "I love Jake Peavy. He's a great competitor, and in the heat of the moment, things happen. And it wasn't a big deal. I guess it was caught on camera. But it wasn't a big deal. We were just talking about Tide versus Gators, and he has the bragging rights."

The White Sox have bragging rights over the Cubs as well. They not only won this series but have now won the past six series over the team from the North Side. The White Sox have also won 17 consecutive interleague series.

Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.