BALTIMORE -- After allowing homers in each one of his first eight starts this season, Jake Peavy had done a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark over his last three outings, yielding just one long ball in 21 innings.
The home run ball came back in earnest Monday night in Peavy's first career start at Camden Yards, as the right-hander allowed three in seven innings of work.
The last two were merely window dressing, in retrospect: the one he yielded in the first, to Adam Jones with the bases empty, would have been enough to beat the listless Red Sox, who were shut out by Baltimore, 4-0.
Beyond the first-inning blast by Jones, Peavy gave up a two-run shot to Nick Markakis in the fifth before a solo belt by Ryan Flaherty in the seventh closed out the scoring.
"The ball to Jones and Flaherty . . . just the wrong pitches, I guess,'' said Peavy. "They weren't the worst pitches in the world. The ball to Markakis, I'd like to have that back. But you've got to keep the ball in the ballpark, that's for sure.''
"Jake gave us a chance to win tonight,'' said catcher David Ross. "The mistakes he did make, they made him pay for them. But he didn't make many. I thought he pitched into some righties a lot more than he had been. I think that's something we'll take moving forward.''
"I thought Jake had good stuff tonight,'' echoed manager John Farrell. "He made a couple of pitches, where the fastball up to Flaherty in the seventh . . . the breaking ball that didn't get down to Markakis for the two-run homer. But one run was going to be the difference the way this one turned out.''
The Sox haven't been scoring runs all season, but Peavy said he doesn't take the mound thinking he can't make any mistakes.
"You really can't,'' he said. "Runs are at a premium, we know that. But you can't go out there thinking about that. You're thinking about that, you're thinking about the wrong thing. Certainly, you need to be a touch careful. But that's the last thing in your mind. You've got to be aggressive. If it takes your aggressiveness away from you, it ends up playing against you rather than helping you.''
The loss extended Peavy's own winless streak to eight starts. His last win came on April 25 at Toronto.
For a veteran who's won a Cy Young and been an All-Star several times, having one win in the second week of June is a position to which he's unaccustomed.
And yet, Peavy stressed, the win total is the last thing on his mind.
"I promise you, I don't care what my personal win-loss record is,'' he said. "I don't care about any personal numbers at this point. I was pitching to win tonight and unfortunately, after the first, we didn't have much of a chance after that.
"But we were grinding. We made pitches, for the most part. I could care less about my personal win-loss record. What's grinding on me is the way we're going as a team. That's the hardest part.''