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John Danks expected a good outing from former teammate Jake Peavy. He got a weak effort from himself.
Peavy pitched seven strong innings against his former team, Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and the Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago White Sox 7-2 on Saturday night for their sixth win in seven games.
"I knew I had to be good and simply wasn't," Danks said. "Jake did what he has to do with a lead."
Coming off a pair of strong starts, Danks gave up six runs, five earned, and 11 hits over five innings. He had won his previous two starts, allowing only two runs in 14 innings.
"Just command within the strikezone," he said. "The problem wasn't throwing strikes. When I would get ahead, I wasn't able to put guys away. Whenever they got a pitch to hit, they hit it. That's what good teams do. There's not really much let up in this lineup."
Ellsbury also scored twice and drove in a run for the AL East leaders. David Ortiz, who snapped an 0-for-23 stretch with a two-run single in Friday's win, went 2 for 4 with a walk and an RBI in Boston's 15-hit attack.
"It's a tough park to have that," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said of Danks' struggles.
Acquired in a three-team, seven-player deal on July 30 that sent Boston infielder Jose Iglesias to Detroit, Peavy spent four seasons with the White Sox. The 32-year old right-hander went 36-29 after being picked up in a trade from San Diego on July 31, 2009.
"It wasn't a big deal we're all used to guys being traded. We all know a lot of guys," he said. "I just made some pitches when I had to. I pieced together a game-plan."
Chicago, last in the AL Central, had won 10 of 12 before dropping the first two of a three-game series against Boston.
Peavy (11-5) allowed two runs and five singles in his sixth start for the Red Sox. He struck out four and walked one while throwing 109 pitches.
Boston broke open a tie game with three runs in the fourth against Danks (4-11), and then scored again in the fifth.
Ellsbury's tiebreaking ground-rule double gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Dustin Pedroia then drove in run with a groundout before Ortiz lined an RBI single to left.
Rookie Xander Bogaerts, regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball, added an RBI single in the fifth that made it 6-2.
The Red Sox had grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Mike Napoli's RBI single. Chicago tied it on Alejandro De Aza's run-scoring groundout.
Jonny Gomes doubled home a run in the third, but the White Sox tied it again on Avisail Garcia's RBI single.