MINNEAPOLIS -- White Sox starting pitcher Gavin Floyd let it be known early Tuesday was his night.
With a runner on third and only one out in the first inning, Floyd struck out Joe Mauer, a hitter who has owned him over the years. Then Floyd retired Josh Willingham on a fly ball to strand the runner.
Pitching against a team he had lost each of his previous eight starts against, Floyd repeated the effort over and over and the White Sox cruised to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins in front of 35,102 at Target Field.
Floyds victory over the Twins was his first since July 11, 2009 at the Metrodome and helped the White Sox gain a game on Cleveland, a 6-4 loser at the New York Yankees. The White Sox lead the American League Central by 1 1 2 games.
Alex Rios blasted a two-run homer and scored two runs to the pace the White Sox, who made the most of their five hits. Rios also singled in the seventh inning off Liam Hendriks (0-5), stole second base and scored on Alexei Ramirezs one-out RBI single.
The production was more than enough for Floyd, who tied his season-high with nine strikeouts over seven shutout innings.
Employing the use of a good breaking ball, Floyd (6-7) had Twins hitters offbalance all night, especially in key situations.
He also struck out Mauer, who entered the game 17-for-39 with three homers and eight RBIs against Floyd, in the third with a runner on second.
Floyd stranded four runners in scoring position in the games first three innings and only got better.
Floyd, who was 0-8 with an 8.86 ERA against the Twins since that July 2009 victory, retired 14 of the last 16 hitters he faced. He struck out Justin Morneau and got Trevor Plouffe to fly out to end the seventh inning with runners on first and second base.
Floyd has combined for 13 1 3 scoreless innings in wins over the Twins and Cubs last Wednesday.
Addison Reed allowed two runs in the night inning before he closed out his 10th save in 11 tires.