BOSTON — Had things turned out differently, Jake Peavy might have been pitching for Arizona Diamondbacks against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
But the veteran right-hander, who was rumored to be headed to the Diamondbacks, was instead dealt by the Chicago White Sox to Boston in a three-way deal that sent Jose Iglesias to Detroit.
On Saturday night, he paid immediate dividends for his new team.
Peavy, doing his usual shouting at himself on the mound, outdueled All-Star left-hander Patrick Corbin and led the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory.
“I can’t tell you how excited I was tonight,” Peavy said after pitching seven-plus innings and allowing four hits to raise his overall season record to 9-4.
“I told a few guys that I had some nerves and (with) obviously around 300 (career) starts, I felt like one of my first.
“I think experience helps you when you go out there and know you can’t win the ballgame in those first few (innings), so you go out there and stick with the game plan.”
And you get help from your friends.
After Peavy left to a standing ovation, left fielder Jonny Gomes threw Cliff Pennington out at home as the potential tying run in the eighth inning. Then Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning for the Red Sox.
“I (said) Jonny Gomes might be my favorite player in the big leagues in this short time,” Peavy said with a smile, adding Gomes’ energy is one of his early impressions of his new teammates.
Shane Victorino hit a solo home run and a sacrifice fly and Jacoby Ellsbury broke a 1-1 tie in a two-run seventh for the Red Sox, who remained a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays atop the American League East standings.
Corbin (12-3), who came in having allowed one earned run in each of his last four starts, gave up three hits to start the seventh, including the third of the game by Ellsbury.
Victorino, who homered to tie the score in the fifth, then delivered his run-scoring fly ball against reliever Will Harris.
Peavy, who walked two and struck out seven, gave up a leadoff single to Wil Nieves in the eighth and left to the big ovation, saluting the crowd with a wave of his cap.
“It was something, truly, from the bottom of my heart something that I’ll never forget,” he said.
The bullpen then failed, but Gomes nailed Pennington at the plate.
“Koji (Uehara) gets credit for the save, but that throw from left field might have been the save,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Saltalmacchia’s homer was caught in the Boston bullpen by Uehara, who came on to pitch the ninth for his 10th save.
Paul Goldschmidt hit his 26th homer for Arizona but also struck out with two on and one out in the eighth, helping save Peavy’s win.
“That was vintage Jake,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “He’s a good pitcher.
“We played a pretty good game. It was a close game until the seventh inning until Patrick ran out of gas a little. That’s what Boston does. They foul off a lot of pitches and take a lot of pitches to get his pitch count up.
“We had an opportunity in the top of the eight, then David (Hernandez) didn’t make a bad pitch to Saltalamacchia. He got the barrel of the bat on it.”
Corbin, who has lost two straight starts, allowed eight hits, four of them by left-handed hitters. It was the first time he has given up four hits to lefties in a game and the first time this season he has yielded more than two.
“We faced a very good pitcher tonight, might be one of the top lefties in all of baseball, not just the National League,” said Farrell, who called Peavy’s debut “outstanding.”
NOTES: Diamondbacks RHP Brandon McCarthy comes off the disabled list (shoulder, since June 1) to start Sunday’s series finale against LHP Felix Doubront. … The Red Sox recalled RHP Rubby De La Rosa, acquired in last August’s mega-deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and an International League All-Star this season, from Pawtucket and optioned RHP Pedro Beato, the loser in Friday night’s game against the Diamondbacks, to Triple-A. … C David Ross, out since June 14 with concussion problems, could be ready for a rehab assignment as early as next week. He is on the 60-day disabled list and not eligible to come off until Aug. 18. … Red Sox owner John Henry is buying The Boston Globe. “The Boston Globe’s award-winning journalism as well as its rich history and tradition of excellence have established it as one of the most well-respected media companies in the country,” Henry said in a statement printed by the newspaper.