Once he returned to the mound for his first major league start in more than three months, it had a familiar feeling. One he'd really missed.
"Once you get out there, it's like riding a bike. It comes back to you," said Peavy Saturday night after pitching five innings and getting the win in Chicago's 13-3 rout of the Kansas City Royals.
"You certainly are comfortable in that surrounding," Peavy added. "I did some things well and some things not so well. I got a long way to go to be where I want to be."
Peavy (1-0) hadn't pitched in a major league game since June 8 when he beat the Diamondbacks while with the Padres. Five days later, he went on the disabled list with a strained tendon in his right ankle.
Traded to the White Sox on July 31, he'd planned to be pitching sooner but was hit in the pitching elbow with a line drive during a rehab game Aug. 24, setting him back.
Even with the White Sox's chances for making the postseason slim at best, Peavy made the start Saturday night and the 2007 Cy Young Award winner gave a glimpse of what might be next season during his 73-pitch outing.
Peavy said he's sure he'll feel some soreness Sunday, but that's to be expected. He gave up three hits, three runs and two walks with five strikeouts Saturday night. And now he might get two more starts.
"I'm not sure how it will come along this year because I'm far behind. It just felt good to get out there and compete," he said. "I owe it to the fans, to [GM] Kenny [Williams] and these guys who got me over here. I'm not 100 percent at what I normally would love to be."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Peavy might have pitched another inning if the bottom of the fifth -- when Chicago's Carlos Quentin hit a grand slam -- hadn't taken so long to complete.
But he liked what he saw from Peavy, especially when the right-hander would yell at himself for not throwing strikes.
"I see why he won the Cy Young," Guillen said. "He fights. I like the attitude he has. He will help us and it will help this ball club."
Peavy struck out three of the first four batters he faced before running into trouble in the second when Alberto Callaspo hit a sinking liner for a single, Miguel Olivo drew a walk and Alex Gordon followed with an RBI single. With runners at the corners, Olivo broke from third and scored as Yuniesky Betancourt dropped down a squeeze bunt to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Billy Butler hit a two-out opposite field homer off Peavy in the third for a 3-1 Royals' lead, but Chicago rallied.
Hughes, who'd made four previous relief appearances, got the nod to start because Kyle Davies has a sore oblique muscle. The lefty went 4 1/3 innings, gave up five hits and was charged with four runs, three earned.
"I just kind of felt weird when I threw my last pitch. It's more for precautionary reasons more than anything else," Hughes said. "It just didn't feel comfortable throwing another pitch. I had Tommy John [surgery] before and I didn't want to tear anything."
The White Sox tied it in the fourth on a single, walk and RBI single by Alex Rios, who was in a 7-for-74 slump.
With one out and a 2-1 count on Konerko in the fifth, catcher John Buck, a trainer and manager Trey Hillman went to the mound, and Hughes left a short time later.
Quentin then lined his 17th homer of the season to left, giving Chicago a 7-3 lead and putting Peavy in position for his first AL victory. Chicago added six runs in the eighth with Ramirez hitting a two-run, bases-loaded double and Dye a two-run single.
Royals LF David DeJesus, who had a 17-game hitting streak entering the game, left in the second inning with a sore right ankle and was replaced by Willie Bloomquist in the batting order. DeJesus was 0-for-1. Olivo, who hit two homers Friday night, had a stomach disorder and was replaced by Buck in the third.