CHICAGO -- When their team gave up six runs in the top of the ninth after entering it tied with Minnesota, disgruntled White Sox fans streamed out of U.S. Cellular Field and headed home.
Jim Thome helped the White Sox erase a six-run deficit and make some major league history before beating Minnesota 11-10 in 13 innings Friday night. Thome's 496th career homer highlighted the unprecedented rally.
It was the first time two big league teams each scored six runs to remain tied after the ninth.
"A lot of fans are going to wake up in the morning and say 'Wow they won the game? How'd that happen?"' White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Baseball is about surprise. It was a crazy game."
A.J. Pierzynski hit an RBI single in the 13th to keep Chicago from being mathematically eliminated for the AL Central title. The Twins, now 12 games back of Cleveland, are all but out of it, too.
"That was a disappointing, long night for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "I don't think we've seen six runs scored against our bullpen in a long, long time, not in the ninth inning. I don't know if that's happened. I can't remember it."
Luis Terrero led off the 13th with a walk off Juan Rincon (3-3) and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Thome was intentionally walked, Scott Podsednik hit a grounder to second baseman Nick Punto, who flipped to Jason Bartlett covering the bag. But Bartlett never got his foot on the bag. Punto was charged with a throwing error and Pierzynski followed with an RBI single to end the 4 hours and 29 minute marathon.
Heath Phillips (1-1) pitched the 13th for his first career win.
Rondell White homered in the ninth for the Twins, who have lost five straight and nine of their last 11.
"When I swung at the first one, you know he kind of threw it by me, and I thought 'Get ready because he is going to throw another one here' and he did," Thome said. "My swing is getting a little better as we're going on here. I feel pretty good."
Twins closer Joe Nathan came on after Thome's drive and walked Paul Konerko. Podsednik replaced Konerko as a pinch-runner and stole second. One out later, Podsednik moved to third on a wild pitch and Darin Erstad followed with a ground-rule double to tie the game at 10. It was Nathan's fourth blown save in 33 chances.
Gardenhire wanted Nathan to face Thome, but the closer wasn't warmed up in the bullpen.
"They put some runs on pretty quick," Nathan said. "I think it was just a situation where I tried to get up and get ready as early as I could. I just couldn't get ready in time to get in there to at least face Thome."
With the game tied at 4, Punto led off the Twins' ninth with a single off Mike Myers and took second on a sacrifice bunt. Punto moved to third when Bartlett's single went off second baseman Danny Richar's glove. Torii Hunter followed with a bouncer to third. Cintron skipped the throw past Richar at second and Punto scored on the error.
Javier Vazquez allowed four runs and scattered 11 hits in six-plus innings. He struck out eight and walked one. He gave up a tying RBI single Garrett Jones and a go-ahead one to Chris Heintz in the fourth.
Twins starter Carlos Silva pitched six innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. He had two strikeouts without allowing a walk.
- It was first time in White Sox history they trailed by six runs or more entering the ninth and came back to tie or take the lead.
- Before the game, The Twins purchased the contract of C Jose Morales from Triple-A Rochester.
- Twins C Joe Mauer worked out before the game and hopes to play this weekend. He is out with a left hamstring injury. He has not started since Aug. 25.
- Jermaine Dye missed with a left groin injury.
- The White Sox had a season-high 19 hits.
- Minnesota had 20.