The Boston Red Sox didn't need their vaunted offense to carry the load on Saturday as they registered their sixth straight win.
Instead they turned to Jon Lester, who outdueled Jake Peavy, and the Red Sox downed the Chicago White Sox, 1-0, in the third test of a four-game set.
Lester (1-2) tossed seven shutout innings, fanning seven while allowing five hits and one walk. The victory snapped an eight-start winless streak, the longest drought of his career.
"He was down all night long," said Boston manager Bobby Valentine about Lester. "The only pitches he threw up in the zone were deliberate. He was pitching well and when he missed, he missed just a little. That's a good sign."
Adrian Gonzalez drove in the lone run of the contest with a single in the fourth inning.
Peavy (3-1) was the hard-luck loser after giving up a run on four hits and one walk. He struck out seven in his second consecutive complete game.
"I'm pleased with the way I performed, but at the same time losing is losing," said Peavy. "I don't care how you get beat, you never want to lose."
Held hitless through the first three frames, Ryan Sweeney led off the fourth with a broken-bat looping double past second baseman Gordon Beckham in shallow right field. He came home two batters later when Gonzalez singled up the middle, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
The White Sox stranded runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings. Beckham grounded into a force out to end the seventh and Alex Rios' groundout concluded the eighth.
Alfredo Aceves worked a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his fifth save of the season
The Red Sox bullpen, much maligned for their struggles earlier in the year, has recorded a minuscule 0.59 earned run average during the winning streak. Boston's relievers had a lofty 8.53 ERA over its first 14 contests, when the team sputtered to a 4-10 start.
Peavy's complete game was the 11th of his career...Sweeney extended his hitting streak to nine games...Boston has outscored its opponents 45-19 during its winning stretch.