After six consecutive stressful games that saw the White Sox lose and then regain their lead in the American League Central, the Sox collectively exhaled a sigh of relief after a cozy 6-2 victory over the Twins that is sure to make Thursday's day off more relaxing.
"(Peavy) is the kind of guy you want after a game like that," said Ventura, referring to Tuesday's 18-9 shellacking in which he used three relievers by the fifth. "He battled, did great, and Rios hits a couple of homers. Things look all right again."
As a result, the Sox (74-62) assured themselves of being in first place in the AL Central when they take to U.S. Cellular Field Friday night against the pesky Royals.
"It would be worse if you lose going into that off day," Ventura said after the Sox improved to 12-4 against the Twins. "Everybody can take care of some nicks and scrapes and get ready (for the weekend series)."
Peavy (10-10) won for the first time since Aug. 1 in Minnesota and was at his best working out of trouble. He stranded runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
Before Peavy's performance, Sox starters had allowed 26 earned runs in their last 26 innings covering six starts.
"Everybody's tired in September," Peavy said. "That's just baseball. Everybody has nagging injuries and stuff going on. If you played the full season, you don't feel like it's April.
"But when you're playing meaningful games, you talk about the importance of taking care of yourself at this point in time. Make sure you're getting your rest and getting treatment in the training room and staying on top of your body. This team has a lot left, and we'll grind it out."
After Thursday, the Sox are scheduled to play their final 26 games during a 27-day span, including 16 consecutive games without a scheduled day off to complete the regular season.
That's why Rios' recent production has been so important. During an 0-for-13 slump Rios' batting average dipped to .295 — marking the first time since June 26 that his batting average had dropped below .300.
But he has rebounded with a 4-for-10 stint that included a double, two home runs and seven RBIs against the Twins that more than compensated for the recent lack of power from Paul Konerko (whose last home run was Aug. 21), Adam Dunn (Aug. 24) and A.J. Pierzynski (one homer since Aug. 12).