CHICAGO (AP) — Jason Kubel hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning and Scott Baker pitched seven sharp innings, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Saturday.
Trailing 1-0 in the seventh inning, Jim Thome drew a leadoff walk against his former team. Thome was replaced for pinch-runner Alexi Casilla, but the move became unnecessary when Kubel connected on White Sox starter Freddy Garcia's 0-1 fastball and drove it into the center field seats for his first homer of the season.
Jesse Crain got two outs in the eighth and stranded Mark Teahen at second, and Jon Rauch pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save in four opportunities as the Twins won their fifth straight after losing to the Los Angeles Angels on opening day.
Baker (1-1) rebounded after struggling through only 4 2-3 innings on opening day. On Saturday, he allowed one run on five hits. He struck out three and walked one.
Teahen doubled in the only White Sox run, who lost for the fourth straight game.
In his first start of the season, Garcia (0-1) made one mistake, to Kubel. He allowed just two runs on three hits. He struck out four and walked five.
The Twins had a chance to tack onto their lead in the eighth. They loaded the bases with no outs against reliever Randy Williams, but Scott Linebrink came in and got Michael Cuddyer to hit a soft liner to second baseman Gordon Beckham, he struck out Casilla and Kubel ended the inning with a groundout to first.
A.J. Pierzynski led off the fifth with a liner to center, Twins center fielder Denard Span tried to make a sliding catch, but the ball got by Span and allowed Pierzynski to go into second for his first double of the season. After Alexei Ramirez moved Pierzynski over on a groundout, Teahen broke an 0 for 10 start with a double to the center field warning track to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
NOTES: After a pinch-hitting Friday night, Thome was in the starting lineup against his former team. He was 0 for 2 with a strikeout and a walk. ... RHP Carl Pavano will start in the Twins home opener at the new Target Field on Monday. "For Pavano to get this is nice. It's a reward for him wanting to be a part of this ballclub," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.