CHICAGO -- Jim Thome is only one away now, and he's having a whole lot of fun with his pursuit of a memorable milestone.
"It's been pretty awesome," Thome said. "I guess it's kind of reality now. It's getting close."
The White Sox, already eliminated from the playoffs, ended a three-game skid and snapped AL Central-leading Cleveland's four-game winning streak.
After flying out to shallow right in his first at-bat, Thome, a former Indian, drove a 2-0 fastball from Jake Westbrook out to right field leading off the fourth inning to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead. It was his 27th of the season.
"You know about it, definitely," Westbrook said of Thome's pursuit. "It doesn't mean I pitch him any differently."
With a disastrous season coming to a close, the White Sox are in the mood to celebrate something besides contract extensions and upcoming vacations.
"It's something to look forward to, especially for myself," said manager Ozzie Guillen, who was just rewarded with a four-year extension despite the team's woes. "Every time Thome hits a home run, it makes it easy for me to come and talk (to the media) about the game. Not many players in the clubhouse have seen a milestone like that."
The team has a "Thome Ticker" on a billboard in right field, and the designated hitter said he and the team are planning to handsomely reward the fan who catches No. 500, so he can get the ball back and personally deliver it to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Thome, who finished with three hits, came up in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out and sent a broken-bat single into right on Westbrook's first pitch to drive in two runs.
"You could feel the excitement in the dugout," Thome said of his milestone pursuit. "The guys were getting excited. It's just a matter of going out and not really thinking about it, but it's tough."
Thome spent about three weeks on the disabled list this season and has missed 30 games after earning AL Comeback Player of the Year honors last year with 42 home runs and 107 RBI. He went deep in three consecutive games last week, including No. 498 off Minnesota's Juan Rincon on Sunday.
After a day off Thursday, Thome has three more games to hit 500 at U.S. Cellular Field this weekend against the Los Angeles Angels. The afternoon crowd was announced at 23,537, but was probably smaller.
"Now he has a good chance to do it here in Chicago," Guillen said. "Hopefully he comes through in those three games. It's always nice to see something like that, especially with the way we're going."
Thome singled again with two outs in the seventh and Paul Konerko drove him in with his 29th home run, a shot that was disputed by the Indians, who thought the ball went wide of the foul pole in left. After huddling up in the infield, the umpires ruled it fair.
"It was foul," Indians third baseman Casey Blake said. "Not by much. (Third base umpire) Rob Drake is a good umpire, he's not going to get them all right, but I can tell it was foul."
Javier Vazquez (12-8) won for the first time in four starts, striking out nine and giving up two runs, one earned, and six hits. He struck out six in a row and eight of 10 over one stretch. Juan Uribe also hit his 19th home run for the White Sox.
"I think the next game we're going to mark Uribe's 20th," Guillen said, laughing.
- Thome has hit six home runs against his former club and three against Westbrook.
- Thome's wife, daughter, father and sister were sitting just behind home plate.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no player has ever hit home run Nos. 499 and 500 in the same game. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner and SS Jhonny Peralta got days off. Ryan Garko hit third for Hafner and Franklin Gutierrez hit fifth for Peralta.
- Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera singled in the first Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
- Scott Podsednik started in center field for Chicago for the first time since 2005.
- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said rookie John Danks, who started Tuesday, likely won't start again this season, and might not pitch in a game at all. Danks lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his last start after a 10-day rest.