CHICAGO -- A.J. Pierzynski did a little bit of everything in the White Sox 4-3 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, which marked their 17th straight Interleague series victory.
Pierzynski laced a two-run triple, his first since May 5, 2009, to put the White Sox on the board in the fourth inning and then came barreling toward the plate and scored one batter later on a Brent Lillibridge squeeze bunt.
"The most interesting thing about that was that I haven't had a triple in a long time," Pierzynski said. "I just hit it in a good spot. I saw [Alex] Rios come around and I just wanted to make sure he scored, so I just tried to beat the throw. It was bang-bang and I got in there."
Pierzynski also exchanged words with his starter, Jake Peavy, who was activated from the disabled list and making his first start since straining his groin on June 5. The two had a brief run-in after the right-hander was lifted in the top of the sixth inning, but both downplayed the incident after the game and called it a non-issue.
By stretching his liner, which split the gap in right-center, into a triple, Pierzynski allowed manager Ozzie Guillen to play some small ball with Lillibridge coming to the plate. It turned out to be a key run on a night in which the White Sox top four hitters went a combined 1-for-15, including an 0-for-3 night by Paul Konerko, ending his five-game home run streak.
"When [Pierzynski] was heading to second base [on his triple], I was right behind him, like tell him to get to third base because I had the play right away when he got to third base," Guillen said of the ensuing squeeze call. "I said, 'I got to put the run away.'"
On a night when Peavy struggled to throw his best stuff and couldn't make it through the sixth inning, the White Sox needed each of those three runs in the fourth, as well as an unearned run that extended the lead to 4-1 when Lillibridge was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded one inning later.
Peavy, who said his injury didn't bother him, earned the win despite going just 5 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks. Though he has walked only seven batters in his six outings this season, six have come in his last two starts.
"I didn't feel good at all, from the get go, I didn't have much," Peavy said of his stuff. "We knew that going in we would have to battle. I tried to keep it close and piece it together for a while."
He was able to piece it together through five innings, but started to lose it when Carlos Pena led off the sixth with a towering home run, his third straight game with a long ball.
Peavy handed the game over to reliever Chris Sale, who pitched his way out of an inherited two-on, one-out jam. Sale also pitched a scoreless seventh and has now allowed just one earned run over 11 innings during his last 10 appearances.
After Sale allowed a leadoff single to Blake DeWitt in the eighth, Jesse Crain relieved him and allowed DeWitt to reach third with one out. Crain then struck out Koyie Hill, and reliever Matt Thornton came on to strike out Kosuke Fukodome to end the threat.
"You don't have very many comfortable at-bats with the back end of their bullpen," Hill said. "It was impressive to watch both sides go at it. Tip your cap to the pitchers today. They made the pitches when they needed to."
"Cheers to the 'pen," Peavy said. "You saw the depth of this team tonight. I didn't do all I could do. That's the part about being a team. I'm as pleased with the outcome of this game as if I had gone eight innings and we had won 4-3. Wins like this build character."
Sergio Santos came on in the ninth and recorded his second save in as many nights by retiring the side in order, including back-to-back strikeouts of Aramis Ramirez and Pena.
"We were put in some pressure-cooker situations, and we were able to get away unscathed and build confidence in ourselves," Santos said of the bullpen. "We know what we're capable of in the bullpen, and it's nice things are starting to roll together and we're starting to put things together. Hopefully this kick-starts our team and [we] win some games."
Despite losing the first game of each of their three Interleague series this season, the White Sox have battled back to win them all, extending their series winning streak in Interleague Play to 17. They have also won nine of their last 12 games against their rivals from the North Side, but Guillen said there are opponents more important than the Cubs.
"I'd rather take two out of three from Cleveland and Detroit," he said. "But I think the fans are happy. I think we're happy because we beat another big league team. But I'm not happy beating the Cubs, I'm happy when anyone who comes to this ballpark we beat them."
The White Sox improved to 37-39 on the season, but remained 4 1/2 back of the division-leading Indians.
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.