Crede drives in winning run with 10th-inning infield single

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox hope an extra-inning victory can get them back on track.

Joe Crede drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single in the 10th inning as the struggling White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Friday night.

First-place Chicago won for just the second time in eight games and maintained its 4½-game AL Central lead over the surging Cleveland Indians, who beat the Kansas City Royals.

The White Sox had a lead of 9½ games on Sept. 7 and were 15 games up on Aug. 1.

"We didn't play our tails off all year to be in this position here," Crede said. "We'll take wins any way we can get them."

Jermaine Dye and A.J. Pierzynski started the 10th with singles and Jesse Crain (10-5) made an error when he couldn't handle Juan Uribe's sacrifice bunt, loading the bases. Crede followed with a liner that hit Crain's leg and bounced away, scoring Dye.

"When the infield is in, we're always taught to try to hit the ball back up the middle," Crede said. "It was a fastball inside. Fortunately, I was able to get enough of the barrel of the bat. It worked out for us."

Relievers J.C. Romero and Joe Nathan were able to escape with no further damage, but it didn't matter for the Twins, who lost for the seventh time in 10 games.

Bobby Jenks (1-0) pitched a perfect final 1 1/3 innings for his first major-league win.

Chicago's Jon Garland worked eight strong innings, allowing six hits and one run. The right-hander still hasn't won on the road since July 17 against Cleveland and is 1-4 in his last seven starts overall.

"Lots of games went like this early on," said Garland, who struck out six and walked one. "We battled to get those runs. It worked out. Maybe this is what we need -- a close games like this -- to get us over the hump."

The White Sox improved to 31-17 in one-run games this season. The three-time defending AL Central champion Twins dropped to 27-28 in such games.

Tadahito Iguchi added an RBI single for Chicago. Each team had six hits.

Twins rookie Scott Baker allowed two hits and one run in seven innings, matching the longest start of his career. He struck out two and walked three.

"I thought our kid Baker did a super job," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's pretty much given us a chance all season. That's all you can ask."

Baker was proud that he pitched well without having great command of his fastball. The right-hander, who turns 24 on Monday, thinks his last few starts this season could determine whether he earns a spot in the rotation next year.

"I feel good," he said. "I feel like I belong here."

The Twins' Jacque Jones tied the score at 1 when he drove a 2-0 pitch from Garland over the right field fence leading off the fourth. The homer was his team-leading 21st.

The White Sox took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the third. Crede walked, Scott Podsednik got an infield hit and Iguchi singled to right field.

Chicago, which has led the division all year, believes the victory might be the start of a strong run to finish the season.

"We just got to come here and be loose," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "This team wins big games, and hopefully we can continue to do that."

Game notes
Pierzynski received a mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd when he was introduced leading off the third. The catcher played for the Twins from 1998 to 2003. ... The White Sox's Carl Everett was robbed of hits twice. Jones dived to catch his line shot to right field in the fourth inning, and second baseman Nick Punto made a leaping snare in the sixth. ... Crede has hit in six straight games, batting .526 (10-for-19).