The White Sox lineup went silent against the Cubs.
Jake Peavy could not be quiet, expressing his frustration over another Sox loss to an inferior team.
A gutty, 125-pitch effort by Peavy went to waste as the Cubs made two runs in the third inning -- one earned -- hold up for a 2-1 victory. It was the second loss for the Sox (35-33) in two nights against the Cubs (24-44) at U.S. Cellular Field, and it knocked them out of first place in the American League Central.
The Sox were held to four hits, and they failed to cash in on seven walks by Cubs pitchers.
Peavy (6-3), who lowered his ERA to 2.74, retired 16 in one stretch after David DeJesus' two-run single. A throwing error by third baseman Orlando Hudson led to one Cubs run.
"We're just not playing good, fundamental baseball,'' said Peavy, who struck out five, walked one and allowed five hits.. "When you're going bad the little things will get you.''
Geovany Soto grounded to Hudson's right, but Hudson's sidearm throw across the infield pulled first baseman Paul Konerko off the base. Tony Campana glanced an infield single off Peavy, and after a pitch in the dirt skipped away from catcher Tyler Flowers allowing the runners to move into scoring position, DeJesus lined a two-run single to right.
"I [messed] it up,'' Hudson said. "I lost the game for the man, that's it. The man threw a hell of a game, I lost it for him. Point blank. Case closed. We lost. My bad. That's it."
"It's frustrating losing the series,'' Peavy said. "We lost three in a row now and if we want to be a first place team there's no excuse.''
"I don't mean any disrespect, but a team playing the way the Cubs have been playing, we got to beat those teams. Please don't take that out of context because the Cubs are a big league team and you got to show up every night because any team can beat anybody. But teams that we feel we should beat that aren't playing that well, we got to show up and take advantage of these opportunities. Detroit is coming. And we know Cleveland isn't going anywhere.''
The loss was the sixth in seven games for the Sox, who fell a half game behind the Indians in the AL Central. The Indians defeated the Reds on Tuesday night, knocking the Sox out of first for the first time since May 28. The Tigers are heating up, and they moved to withing a game and a half of the Sox.
"I don't think by any means, this team has lost any confidence,'' Peavy said. "This team has shown it can play with anybody on any given day. The bottom line is we've been a little too streaky."
The Sox scored a run in the second on Alexei Ramirez's ground-rule double that pushed Alex Rios across from third, but they could have had more. Cubs starter Travis Wood walked Flowers to load the bases with one out, but Hudson popped out to shortstop and Alejandro De Aza struck out.
The Sox had another good scoring chance in the eighth but came up empty after Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn walked with one out. Cubs reliever Manny Corpus came in and got Konerko on a fly to right and Rios on a grounder to first.
The Sox have lost seven of their last 10 at home.
"It bothers all of us,'' Peavy said. "We don't want to lose, especially in front of our fans. We want our fans to come out and support us. And you got to win and you got to win at home and have a good atmosphere. But we're fine. We got a long way to go. We got too many veterans in here that are going to grind it out and make sure this team's confidence stays high. And we got enough in here to do it. It's just a matter of fact of grinding it out and playing a tad bit better and coming out on the good side of things instead of like we are the past few."
Asked if he would like to encourage general manager Ken Williams to improve the team with a trade, Peavy did not hesitate.
"Of course. You can always get better,'' he said. "I love the team we do have. But if Kenny and Jerry [Reinsdorf] and those guys see fit, you can always take to add a player. That's something we'd all welcome. But at the same time, If that doesn't happen, we think we have enough here to beat the other teams in our division. We know it's not going to be easy. We don't mean that by any means. Detroit hasn't hit their stride, hasn't gotten hot, but they're starting to play good. And this Cleveland team isn't going anywhere."
A comeback player of the year candidate, Peavy battled to the end. DeJesus led off the Cubs ninth with a triple but Peavy left him there with a strong, determined effort to finish. The Sox went down in order, however, against Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol in the ninth.
"I did feel good tonight and was trying to be economical because of the injuries we've had,'' Peavy said. "The game plan from outset was to throw 120 pitches. Wish it had been different because that ninth would have meant something.''