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Alexei opens the scoring with an RBI double

CHICAGO -- Jake Peavy means no disrespect to the Cubs and their 24-44 record or their last-place standing in the National League Central.

But a team with designs on the postseason such as the White Sox, a team that started Tuesday atop the American League Central, has to beat rebuilding squads such as its North Side rivals.

With the Cubs' 2-1 victory Tuesday night over Peavy before 30,282 at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox (35-33) no longer are a first-place team. They also lost their fifth straight series and dropped their first series to the Cubs since 2008.

Peavy's third complete game of the season was squandered in a battle the White Sox certainly could have won.

"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," said Peavy, who threw a season-high 125 pitches. "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."

The White Sox came up empty on almost all of their scoring opportunities against Travis Wood (1-3) and four relievers, officially dropping a third straight when Orlando Hudson grounded out to first baseman Steve Clevenger against Carlos Marmol, who posted his fourth save. Those five pitchers combined to walk seven, including three by Wood in the second inning.

Alexei Ramirez managed to drop a ground-rule double down the right-field line to score the South Siders' lone run in the second. But with the bases loaded and one out, Hudson popped out to shortstop Starlin Castro and Alejandro De Aza struck out swinging.

Hudson's rough night was just beginning. With one out in the third, Geovany Soto reached on Hudson's throwing error. Hudson's throw pulled first baseman Paul Konerko up the line and off the bag, and Soto weaved around Konerko and then dived back into first to beat the tag. Tony Campana followed with a single off of Peavy, both runners moved up on a wild pitch and David DeJesus singled home two on a 3-2 pitch.

Peavy (6-3) retired 16 in a row after DeJesus' hit, but the damage already had been done. After the White Sox fell to 6-8 in Interleague Play, Hudson spoke of his miscue without taking any questions.

"I [messed] it up. I lost the game for the man, that's it," Hudson said. "The man threw a [heck] of a game, I lost it for him. Point blank. Case closed. We lost. My bad. That's it."

"It's frustrating. 'Peav' pitched a great game," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You look at it as he deserves better. We had opportunities and it just didn't happen."

Cubs reliever James Russell issued one-out walks to Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn in the eighth, giving the White Sox their best scoring chance since the second. Manuel Corpas replaced Russell and retired Konerko on a fly ball to right and then got Alex Rios on a ground ball to first, after first-base umpire Bill Miller ruled Rios swung on a 2-1 check attempt.

Basically, the game was left in Peavy's capable hands. DeJesus opened the ninth with a triple to right-center, but Peavy stayed in as his pitch count rose and retired Castro and Reed Johnson on groundouts and then struck out Clevenger looking.

"He was throwing his fastball where he wanted to, and his slider had some bite today," said DeJesus of Peavy, who struck out five and walked one while allowing five hits. "We were able to get those two runs early and who would've thought those runs would stick for the rest of the game."

"Probably, if he would have given up a run or something, you would have taken him out," Ventura said. "He's a competitor and it's his game right there."

Tuesday's setback marked loss No. 3 for Peavy, during which the White Sox have scored one run total. Peavy has yielded just four runs in that trio of starts, becoming the first White Sox pitcher to lose two complete games in a season since Mark Buehrle in 2007.

This game wasn't so much hard to take on a personal level for Peavy, as it was with his team falling for a sixth time in seven games and slipping to a dismal 16-20 at home.

"We don't want to lose, especially in front of our fans. We want our fans to come out and support us," Peavy said. "And you got to win and you got to win at home and have a good atmosphere. But we're fine.

"We've 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 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."

If the White Sox don't turn things around soon, they might be looking up at the Tigers (33-34) as well as the Indians (35-32). But the Cubs certainly aren't ready to concede anything after the White Sox swept them at Wrigley in May.

"You don't want to lose to the White Sox in this city," Castro said. "We need another one."

"St. Louis is a good atmosphere. The Dodgers are a good team," said Peavy, pointing to the previous two lost Interleague series. "We had our chances to beat those teams and we got to find a way to swing these tight ballgames in our favor, and we will."

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