MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins made Ozzie Guillen antsy again.
After Minnesota scored a run in the seventh, a run in the eighth, two more in the ninth and put the winning run on first base, though, the rally fell one short.
Only then could Chicago’s motormouth manager relax and enjoy a win fueled by a well-balanced lineup.
Jim Thome drove in four runs for the White Sox, countering two home runs by ex-teammate Joe Crede in an 8-7 victory on Saturday night.
“I wish somebody else would give those guys credit, not just me, because I sound like I’m pulling for them,” Guillen said. “They show up every day.”
Bobby Jenks picked up his 20th save, nearly blowing it when Jose Morales hit a two-run single with one out in the ninth after Crede’s sharp grounder shot through Gordon Beckham’s legs for an error to put runners at second and third. Denard Span grounded into a double play to end the game.
“I still had a good feeling,” Beckham said. “I didn’t think we were going to give one up. I have a lot of confidence that we’ll get out of that situation.”
Crede hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo homer in the seventh against Gavin Floyd (7-6), giving him four home runs in eight games against the White Sox this season. Beckham and Brian Anderson combined for five hits and two walks in the last two spots in the lineup, though, and helped keep Glen Perkins (4-5) from getting out of the fifth.
The Twins aren’t generating any offense from the bottom of their batting order, one reason why they haven’t climbed much higher than the .500 mark this year. No. 9 hitter Nick Punto is in a 3-for-30 slump.
“I felt like I was pretty locked in. I went with the flow and we scored a lot of runs today, which helps a lot,” said Floyd, who turned it over to Jenks for the last out of the eighth. “I felt good about it.”
Floyd got AL batting leader Joe Mauer to ground out to second base all four times he batted, including an inning-ending double play in the fourth. Crede’s blast cut the lead to 5-3, but Floyd bounced back with a 1-2-3 sixth inning, pounding his glove in satisfaction after striking out Justin Morneau to retire the side.
Floyd struck out seven without a walk, his margin for error expanded when Thome’s two-out, broken-bat bloop double bounced between Span and Carlos Gomez in left-center and stretched the lead to 8-3 in the sixth.
Perkins was supposed to start on Wednesday, but he woke up that morning with a high fever and badly sore throat that took away his appetite and was pushed back in the rotation by three days — giving him nine days of rest between starts.
His velocity was down.
His pitches were up.
“It had nothing to do with stamina,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Perkins gave up eight hits in 4 1-3 innings, the fourth Twins starter in the last five turns who failed to finish the sixth.
“I felt fine enough to pitch, and that’s all that matters,” he said.
The Twins, who fell to 2-5 against the White Sox this season, dropped back to that old .500 mark.
“Win eight out of 10, something like that,” said right fielder Michael Cuddyer. “Yeah, we want to do that. We need to do that. We feel like we can do that, and it’s frustrating that we haven’t.”
NOTES: The Twins added a former scouting director, the late George Brophy, and a nine-time opening day starter, Brad Radke, to their Hall of Fame before the game. Radke remains an example for the pitching staff, three years after his retirement. “There’s a lot of good tough stories in baseball, guys playing hurt and all this stuff, but pitching with a broken shoulder probably tops the list,” said Gardenhire. Said Radke: “Must’ve done something right, not just throwing the ball over the plate, but helping other players.” … Guillen said White Sox general manager Kenny Williams won’t be deterred by salary from making a trade. “If we get there and we need a piece to get this thing better, I think Kenny will do it.” Guillen also said he believes this year’s team is better than the 2008 division champions. “Because we can win a little different ways,” he said.