Crede’s grand slam lifts White Sox to 7-4 win against Minnesota

Joe Crede’s seventh-inning blast was part of Chicago’s five-run inning.

;CHICAGO (AP) – Joe Crede appeared to be the Chicago White Sox’s forgotten man, but now that he’s healthy, he’s sending out reminders – like that loud one he delivered on Monday.

Crede hit a tiebreaking grand slam to cap a five-run seventh inning, and Chicago won its home opener 7-4 over the Minnesota Twins.

Coming off a weekend sweep at Detroit, Chicago has won five straight for the first time since Aug. 10-14, 2006. The White Sox have won six of their last seven home openers.

Crede, batting .393 with 10 RBIs, endured a back injury last season and trade rumors in the offseason. Last year, limited to 47 games because of his bad back, he hit .216 with 22 RBIs. With Josh Fields also available to play third, Chicago explored trade opportunities for Crede during much of the offseason.

“The biggest thing coming into this season was staying healthy,” said Crede, who struggled in spring training. “For me that was my main goal in the spring, was to be able to get out there and feel comfortable at the plate, feel comfortable on defense and No. 1 to stay healthy.”

Jermaine Dye tied the score at 3 with a one-out RBI single off Pat Neshek, who had just relieved Matt Guerrier (0-1). A.J. Pierzynski struck out, and Carlos Quentin loaded the bases with a single.

Crede broke his bat while driving a 1-0 pitch to the bullpen in left for the fifth slam, his first since June 24, 2006, against Houston. He didn’t think that high arching shot had a chance to clear the wall. Nor did Neshek.

It did, by a few feet, and the crowd erupted.

“I thought Delmon (Young) was going to come over in foul territory and scoop it up or if anything it would go out into the crowd and be a foul ball,” Neshek said. “But it stayed straight. You hate that stuff when it happens as a pitcher, but we have another 150-some games left. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen too much more.”

The White Sox would like to see more of this from Crede.

“Everyone knows what Joe can do when Joe’s healthy,” Pierzynski said. “I don’t think there are too many people in this clubhouse worried about what Joe Crede’s going to do if he’s healthy.”

Chicago’s Javier Vazquez (1-1) struggled early before settling into a rhythm, and allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking one. He is 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA in his last six starts against the Twins.

Bobby Jenks pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected after plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called a second strike against Paul Konerko during the third inning. Guillen went nose-to-nose with the umpire for several minutes as the crowd chanted “Ozzie! Ozzie!” The ejection was Guillen’s 13th since becoming Chicago’s manager in 2004.

“I’m here for my players,” he said. “If I don’t think they’re getting the right calls, then that’s my job – to protect them. I don’t like a couple of calls, I went out and haggled with the calls. I told the players they’re not here for me; I’m here for them. That’s my job.”