CHICAGO -- It took a month for Jake Peavy to show signs of being the pitcher he and the Chicago White Sox hoped for.
Peavy pitched seven-plus shutout innings in his most impressive start of the season and Alex Rios had three hits and two RBI as the White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Monday night.
Peavy (1-2) struck out a season-high nine batters using a sharp fastball and left to a standing ovation in the eighth inning. He didn't allow a hit until Mitch Maier singled with two outs in the fifth.
Peavy didn't surrender another hit until Alberto Callaspo singled and Jason Kendall doubled with two outs in the seventh. Peavy finished the inning by getting Maier to hit a soft liner to shortstop Alexei Ramirez with runners on second and third.
Peavy, who only allowed four hits, was acquired in a deadline deal on July 31, 2009, despite being on the disabled list. He was 0-2 with a 7.85 ERA in five starts in April and went winless in a full month for the first time since June of 2006 (0-3, 5.28 ERA). He lowered his ERA to 6.31.
"I got what I was looking for," Peavy said. "This what I came here to do and it was nice to go out there and do what I know I'm capable of and now I just got to maintain this and keep putting together quality starts. Just have the season start from May on."
Ramirez hit a solo home run and Andruw Jones had two hits and two RBI for the White Sox, who began a seven-game homestand after finishing a 2-4 road trip Sunday.
"We played the way I think, personally the way we should be playing," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We got a few stolen bases, we got one home run, we played pretty good defense, the pitching was good."
The White Sox came in with the lowest batting average in baseball (.223) and the worst ERA in the AL at 5.30.
"We ran into the wrong Peavy," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.
Scott Podsednik homered against his former team in the ninth inning off reliever Scott Linebrink, snapping a 17-inning scoreless streak for the Royals. They suffered a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday and have not scored a run since the 11th inning of Saturday's 4-2 victory.
"Offensively, we've got to pick it up a little bit," Podsednik said. "We haven't been swinging the bats great the last two, three days. We're just pressing up there a little bit. We just need to pump the brakes a little bit and ease up."
Royals starter Gil Meche (0-3) allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings - but his ERA actually lowered from 10.13 to 9.89.
"I don't know how I have confidence right now, but I actually do," Meche said. "My body feels good on the mound. I'm just not making good pitches. When I'm ahead in the count, I'm leaving breaking balls up in the zone."
Peavy gave up five runs in the first inning of Wednesday's 6-5 loss at Texas, although he recovered to retire 16 of 18 during one stretch. Peavy, who also lost his previous outing to Tampa Bay, has not dropped three straight starts since July 2007.
"I certainly put together in the last five innings in Texas and tonight I got a bit better and made pitches for the most part," Peavy said.
Ramirez homered on a 2-1 pitch in the third inning for his second of the season. One out later, Pierre reached on an infield single and stole second. Pierre then scored from second on Jones' single.
Jones and Rios added Peavy with an insurance runs in the fifth. With runners on first and second, Jones hit an RBI double down the left-field line. With two outs, Rios singled through the left side of the infield to score Gordon Beckham and Jones to give the White Sox a 5-0 lead.
White Sox OF Carlos Quentin was out of the lineup with a sore hamstring. ... Podsednik, who played for the White Sox from 2005-07 and in 2009, received a warm reception from the fans before his first at-bat in the first inning. His home run landed nearly in the exact location of his game-winning homer in game two of the 2005 World Series. ... Pop star Justin Bieber attended the game and threw out the first pitch..