Perfection is a rarity in baseball, but the White Sox are teasers when it comes to pitching perfection.
Philip Humber’s classic from a week ago had plenty thinking of a repeat Sunday, when right-hander Gavin Floyd got through four innings against the Boston Red Sox without allowing a baserunner.
After he walked Cody Ross in the fifth, perfect thoughts were gone, but not a no-hitter.
It took Dustin Pedroia’s single with one out in the seventh to bring baseball back to reality, but Floyd and the White Sox would prevail 4-1 at U.S. Cellular Field.
‘‘I don’t know if you can sit there and kind of visualize a perfect game, a no-hitter,” manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘I think people were probably doing that, but he’s been that way. He’s just been consistent, just locating [pitches], and his offspeed pitches have been great.”
Floyd’s work and a long-awaited home run by Adam Dunn were keys in the White Sox snapping a five-game skid and lifting their record to 11-11.
Dunn hadn’t homered at home since Aug. 4, but his two-run shot off Josh Beckett (2-3) in the first after Alex Rios had driven home Alejandro De Aza was a welcome cushion.
‘‘They’ve put up a lot of runs against us, and today Gavin really shut them down [after Jake Peavy held Boston to one run Saturday but lost],” Dunn said. ‘‘We were fortunate to get some early runs, and [Floyd] settled in.
‘‘Whenever you get a guy like [Beckett], you have to score early. He’s a workhorse, and those guys only get better in a game. Usually your best chance is early.”
Dunn’s homer ended a 1-for-9 stretch against the Red Sox, and he finished with two more walks and a strikeout.
‘‘I feel good,” Dunn said, ‘‘getting myself into good hitters’ counts. I just haven’t been able to make them pay when I do. It’s a work in progress.”
Floyd (2-3) went 62/3 innings and allowed only three hits, all in the seventh when the Red Sox got their lone run.
‘‘Absolutely,” Floyd said with a smile of having thoughts of duplicating Humber’s feat. ‘‘Especially since Phil did it, but you have to just put it behind you, stay focused and keep attacking. If it happens, it happens.”
Floyd has had three one-hitters, the last on May 6, 2008, against the Minnesota Twins when he was two outs from history.
‘‘You don’t even worry about that stuff until the seventh or eighth,” said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who caught Humber’s perfect game. ‘‘Gavin was pitching well, but one pitch, and they could have been right back in the game.”
Floyd struck out nine and walked one.
Ventura summoned Addison Reed to end the seventh, and he got two outs in the eighth before Matt Thornton ended the inning. Thornton stayed through the ninth, facing Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz to earn his first save.
‘‘It’s nothing against Hector [Santiago],” Ventura said of the rookie closer. ‘‘He’ll still be in there in the ninth, but you’re looking at a guy with a body of work against those guys.”
The Sox’ first month found them a game behind the American League Central-leading Cleveland Indians, who come to town for a three-game series that begins Tuesday.
‘‘There are so many good teams now,” Dunn said. ‘‘This division, we’re just going to beat each other up.
‘‘The Kansas City Royals haven’t played their best, but that’s a very good team, too. It’s going to be down to the wire.”