BOSTON -- Birthday No. 30 should be a celebration Jake Peavy remembers for a long time.
That official getting a year older comes on Tuesday, but with his father, Danny, and grandfather, Sonny, in attendance at Fenway Park on Monday night, watching him pitch in a big league game for the first time in this comeback, Peavy pushed the White Sox to a 7-3 victory. His solid seven innings of work helped the visitors best Jon Lester, one of the American League's top pitchers, and ended a three-game losing streak for the White Sox (25-31).
So, it was more than OK for Peavy to get this party started a few hours early.
"To go out and compete against that lineup, and there's no better lineup in baseball than that one right there," said Peavy, who threw 78 of his 112 pitches for strikes. "To do it at their ballpark and to come away with a quality start and a win, I'm as happy as I can be."
"Every time this guy goes out there, he puts his heart on it and gives his team the best chance," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "It's nice when you see this guy on the mound. It's fun to watch."
Peavy (2-0) gave up a first-inning home run to Adrian Gonzalez, his one-time teammate in San Diego, and Dustin Pedroia touched him for a game-tying, two-run single in the third. But it was two at-bats against Carl Crawford truly defining this winning effort.
In the fourth, with the game deadlocked at 3 and David Ortiz on first, Crawford launched a drive looking destined for the right-field stands. But Brent Lillibridge made the catch near the wall in the right-field corner. Following Drew Sutton's sacrifice bunt, J.D. Drew popped up, and the Red Sox (30-24) did not score.
The White Sox scored four against Lester (7-2) and Dan Wheeler with two outs in the sixth, but singles from Gonzalez and Ortiz with one out in the bottom half set up Crawford with a chance to do damage and significantly cut into that deficit. Instead, Crawford lined out to right and Peavy struck out Sutton to end the threat.
There were just two strikeouts over seven innings for Peavy. He didn't issue a free pass, meaning Peavy has fanned 16 and walked one in 25 innings of work covering his four starts.
Although the final numbers look impressive, Peavy admitted that a muddled opening made this start a little more difficult than it appeared.
"Tonight was a grind, but we got through it," said Peavy, who talked about altering his pregame throwing program to make the first few innings of his next start a little easier. "Just had to mix and match. I really didn't have anything to put guys away with. Location was OK. But it was nice. Make or break your season, nights like tonight."
"You know going in he's a strike thrower," said Boston manager Terry Francona of Peavy. "He's not going to walk people. Fastball, slider and he just pounds the strike zone. We hit some balls pretty good. [Pedroia] hit a ball, Carl thought he hit a home run, just couldn't break through."
Alexei Ramirez broke the tie in the sixth when he dropped a bases-loaded double over the head of Gonzalez down the right-field line to score Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham. It was Ramirez's 14th double in May, which leads the Majors. Carlos Quentin added a two-run single off Wheeler.
Lester, who had won seven straight decisions, stayed in the game to face Ramirez despite being over 120 pitches at that point and the right-handed Wheeler warming in the bullpen. Ramirez expressed surprise Lester remained after Juan Pierre walked to load the bases, but understood the confidence the Red Sox had in Lester.
"Out of that whole at-bat, that was really the only pitch I didn't execute down and in," said Lester of the 2-2 pitch on Ramirez's go-ahead double, ending his night at 127 pitches. "It was more of a flat cutter."
"I was just going up there to try to make contact with the ball," said Ramirez through translator Jackson Miranda. "I was really zoned in where that ball was going to be coming."
Paul Konerko chipped in his 11th home run with two outs in the third, marking the 376th long ball of his career. That blast tied Konerko for 66th place all-time with Carlton Fisk, who was in attendance.
Guillen's crew came to Fenway Park with a 14-inning loss and a 13-4 blowout behind them in Toronto, not to mention a 5-9 record this season against left-handers and just a .227 average when facing southpaws as a team. But for the fifth straight time in Boston, the White Sox defeated the Red Sox and equaled their longest winning streak at Fenway since 1982.
They also improved to 11-2 in their last 13 games overall against the Red Sox and moved within 8 1/2 games of the American League Central-leading Indians, who lost for the fifth time in six games.
"Just a big win for the boys," Peavy said. "To come out and score seven off a guy like Jon Lester, to come back after a few tough days in Toronto against a team as hot as anybody in baseball says a lot about the character and makeup of this team."
"Everybody did contribute," said Guillen, pointing to every starter in the lineup having at least one hit. "My hope is that we can stay like that at least for a couple of weeks. We've been like that for a couple of days and all of a sudden we disappear."