Bonser becomes first Twins starter to win since April 19

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ron Gardenhire rarely expresses feelings of desperation in reference to his team, especially this early in the season.

So when the Minnesota manager said his Twins "desperately needed" a quality start from the rotation, it was a telling statement of just how dire the situation had become.

Just when it was really starting to look bad, Boof Bonser came to the rescue.

Bonser picked up Minnesota's beleaguered starting rotation with the group's first win in 10 days to lead the Twins to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

Bonser (2-4) gave up a homer to Joe Crede among six hits and struck out eight to earn the win, the first by a Twins starter since April 19.

"We needed that out of Boof," catcher Joe Mauer said. "That's the best I've seen him this year. That was huge of him to go deep into the game for us. We haven't been able to do that for a while."

Jason Kubel homered and Joe Nathan picked up his eighth save for the Twins.

Gavin Floyd (2-1) gave up three runs and five hits in six innings and Crede hit his AL-leading seventh homer of the season.

Bonser mixed a sharp curveball and a sneaky slider with a fastball in the low 90s to keep the first-place White Sox off balance.

"That was probably the first time since the start of the season that I've had it going," Bonser said of his curveball. "Last year I had it going good. But my first four or five games I have not had it like I did tonight."

He lasted at least six innings for the sixth time in his seven starts, giving the bullpen a much needed breather after a marathon weekend in Texas. Livan Hernandez and Francisco Liriano combined to last just 3 1/3 innings in two pummelings by the Rangers, dropping Minnesota's starters to 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA and 47 hits in the previous 32 2/3 innings.

It's been an all-or-nothing kind of year for the Chi-town sluggers. They entered the game with an AL-worst .242 batting average, but led the league in scoring with 5.2 runs per game thanks to a league-best 34 homers.

"Our offense still continues to struggle, know what I mean?" manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Not to take any credit from Bonser, but we continue to struggle at the plate and we try to fight our way out. But there's no doubt that he threw the ball well."

Jim Thome nearly got another one in the eighth off Dennys Reyes that would have tied the game, but Delmon Young made a leaping catch at the wall, then a strong relay to Brendan Harris, who doubled up Nick Swisher at first base to end the inning.

"We're scoring some runs, but overall our batting average isn't where we want it to be," Thome said. "It's not where we hope to see it at the end of the season. It's going to take work to get there."

The Twins got all the runs they would need in the fourth when Kubel's two-run homer landed in the upper deck in right field and Young scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Lamb.

Bonser had gotten a combined seven runs of support in his previous five starts this season. It was his first victory at home in 13 starts, dating back to June 10 of last year.

"I felt good, but at the same time, they were swinging at a lot of stuff," Bonser said. "I was throwing the ball in the dirt and they were swinging at it."

Game notes
Joe Mauer hit a triple in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, which ties a career high. ... White Sox SS Orlando Cabrera had two hits, snapping an 0-for-20 skid. ... Twins SS Adam Everett (shoulder) is just starting to take grounders and throw to first base and his return does not appear imminent. RHP Scott Baker (groin) is scheduled to start on Saturday against Detroit. But he will have to pass a test in a bullpen session on Wednesday first. "If he feels it at all," Gardenhire said, "he will not pitch." ... The White Sox announced that their suspended game from Monday night, tied 3-3 with Baltimore after 11 innings when it was suspended by rain, will be resumed before the two teams meet on Aug. 25.