Chicago at Minnesota

Final 10th
W: R. Mahay (1-1) L: M. Thornton (3-4)
HR: CHW - P. Konerko (30),M. Kotsay (8),A. Ramirez (13)   MIN - O. Hudson (6),D. Young (15),J. Thome (17)

Thome drills walk-off shot in 10th to stun ChiSox wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Thome slapped hands with both base coaches about as hard as he hit the winning home run. With childlike enthusiasm, he chucked his helmet so high the home plate umpire had to backpedal to avoid it.

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The Twins hold just a four-game division lead over the ChiSox. Yet it's beginning to look like it might be enough. Read >>

By giving the Minnesota Twins a big victory against the Chicago White Sox, Thome's 581st career home run was as satisfying as any of those before it.

Thome's two-run shot in the bottom of the 10th inning -- against the team that decided not to bring him back this season -- sent the Twins to a 7-6 victory against the White Sox on Tuesday night to stretch their AL Central lead to four games.

"We brought Thome in here for a reason, and that's one of 'em," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, who recalled Thome's declaration on the bench he was going to come through with a clutch hit.

"We were just having fun," Thome said.

Yes, even with his 40th birthday beckoning later this month, Thome is still enjoying this game like a rookie.

"That never gets old," Thome said, adding: "Tomorrow's a new day, but for a little bit here you cherish that moment."

After Delmon Young's leadoff single against Matt Thornton (3-4), Thome smashed an 0-1 fastball and sent it sailing an estimated 445 feet over the right-field bleachers to send his new team and the fans at sold-out Target Field into a frenzy. He got the obligatory head-slapping at home plate and shaving-cream pie during the postgame interview.

Career HR Leaders
1. Barry Bonds762
2. Hank Aaron755
3. Babe Ruth714
4. Willie Mays660
5. Ken Griffey Jr.630
6. Sammy Sosa609
7. Alex Rodriguez-y604
8. Frank Robinson586
9. Mark McGwire583
10. Jim Thome-y581

"Any time you play your ex-team, you obviously want to do well," Thome said.

Alexei Ramirez hit the tying home run in the ninth inning and the go-ahead RBI single in the 10th, as Twins relievers Matt Capps and Jon Rauch gave up three hits each in the last two innings. Ron Mahay (1-1) was the winner.

Paul Konerko, who earlier became the second player in the league to reach 30 home runs this season, grounded into a double play after the White Sox loaded the bases in the ninth following Ramirez's home run.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen insisted before the game the Twins don't have a mental edge over his team, but they're on some impressive runs against the Sox: 20-6 overall and 12-4 at home.

How will the Sox overcome the latest devastating loss? They've blown five games since the All-Star break with a lead in the eighth inning or later.

"Have a couple of drinks and come back tomorrow and fight," Guillen said.

The Twins are 23-7 in their past 30 games, and the White Sox are 15-16 in their past 31. The teams have just five more meetings this year.

"I will take that matchup again," Guillen said.

Thornton would, too.

"The only thing that stings is the fact that our offense battled all night and we couldn't pull it out," he said. "That's the only thing that hurts for me. It doesn't matter who hit the home run."

White Sox starter John Danks recovered from a four-run first inning to finish seven frames, and the Twins had two runners -- including Thome -- thrown out at the plate. Young's fifth-inning home run gave them the lead back at 6-5.

Chicago's relievers have given up 18 earned runs in their past 20 2/3 innings. That's not the way to climb back in the race.

"We know we can do it. We've had some really good runs this year," Thornton said. "We've just had about a two week period where we're not playing very good baseball. It's just a matter of getting back in the groove."

Minnesota's bullpen was cruising until Capps came in, retiring 10 of 11 batters in relief of Scott Baker. Glen Perkins, in his first appearance at Target Field, got Mark Kotsay to ground out with the bases full to finish the fifth and stranded A.J. Pierzynski following a leadoff double in the sixth. Kotsay is 0 for 22 against lefties this year.

The division continues to revolve around this rivalry, and it's still intense despite the turnover on both teams and Guillen's constant praise for the Twins. Young proved that in the eighth inning when he charged home on a groundout and veered toward chief agitator and catcher Pierzynski to deliver a forearm shiver that didn't dislodge the ball from the catcher's mitt.


  • Justin Morneau's swing looked strong during batting practice, but he still feels post-concussion symptoms so the Twins have no timetable for his return. "The more he gets out there on the field and tells us he's feeling ready, then that's when we'll start talking to him about something else. We're just letting him do his thing," Gardenhire said.
  • The Twins had a 10-game run without allowing a home run at Target Field end. Konerko went deep on each end of the streak.
  • Guillen was noncommital about the return of Bobby Jenks to the closer role. Jenks, who has been bothered by back spasms, avoided the DL and is expected to be available this series.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Jim Thome (second to left) comes up with his 12th career walk-off home run while also creeping up the all-time HR list.  (AP)
Jim Thome (second to left) comes up with his 12th career walk-off home run while also creeping up the all-time HR list. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Kotsay
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1

J. Thome
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1

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Chicago White Sox
Juan Pierre, LF5010103 .268
Omar Vizquel, 3B4010001 .288
Alex Rios, CF4010101 .293
Paul Konerko, 1B5111003 .301
Carlos Quentin, RF4110110 .234
Mark Kotsay, DH5232003 .237
    Brent Lillibridge, PR-DH0100000 .292
A.J. Pierzynski, C5031000 .243
Alexei Ramirez, SS5122022 .290
Gordon Beckham, 2B5010014 .252
2B - Carlos Quentin (19, Baker), Mark Kotsay (14, Baker), A.J. Pierzynski 2 (22, Baker, Perkins)
HR - Paul Konerko (30, Baker), Mark Kotsay (8, Baker), Alexei Ramirez (13, Capps)
SH - Omar Vizquel (4)
RBI - Paul Konerko (81), Mark Kotsay 2 (28), A.J. Pierzynski (35), Alexei Ramirez 2 (50)
Team LOB - 10
Outfield Assists - Alex Rios 1
Chicago White Sox
John Danks 71155142 3.33
Sergio Santos 0.2200000 1.60
Matt Thornton (L,3-4) 1.1322011 2.66
Pitches-Strikes - John Danks 104-70, Sergio Santos 11-8, Matt Thornton 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Danks 8-8, Sergio Santos 1-1, Matt Thornton 1-2
Batters Faced - John Danks 32, Sergio Santos 4, Matt Thornton 7
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF5020003 .271
Orlando Hudson, 2B5121002 .287
Joe Mauer, C5110013 .329
Michael Cuddyer, 1B5120002 .272
Jason Kubel, RF4112000 .263
    Jason Repko, RF1000011 .267
Delmon Young, LF5231001 .320
Jim Thome, DH5133011 .273
Danny Valencia, 3B4020002 .333
J.J. Hardy, SS3000120 .264
2B - Danny Valencia 2 (13, Danks, Santos)
3B - Jason Kubel (3, Danks)
HR - Orlando Hudson (6, Danks), Delmon Young (15, Danks), Jim Thome (17, Thornton)
RBI - Orlando Hudson (32), Jason Kubel 2 (77), Delmon Young (85), Jim Thome 3 (44)
2-OUT RBI - Delmon Young (36), Jim Thome (14)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Hudson-Hardy-Cuddyer
E - Scott Baker (1, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker 4.2744232 4.85
Glen Perkins 1.1100000 6.00
Matt Guerrier (H,20) 1000000 3.09
Jesse Crain (H,13) 1000010 2.84
Matt Capps (BS,6) 1311101 2.57
Jon Rauch 0.2311000 3.53
Ron Mahay (W,1-1) 0.1000000 3.44
IBB - Rios by Matt Capps
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 91-58, Glen Perkins 17-12, Matt Guerrier 13-8, Jesse Crain 14-8, Matt Capps 20-14, Jon Rauch 15-13, Ron Mahay 2-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 4-7, Glen Perkins 4-0, Matt Guerrier 2-1, Matt Capps 2-0
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 23, Glen Perkins 5, Matt Guerrier 3, Jesse Crain 3, Matt Capps 6, Jon Rauch 5, Ron Mahay 1
Game Information
Attendance - 40714
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Bill Hohn, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Paul Emmel