for this game

Thome's blast sparks White Sox

Apr 19, 2008 - 4:03 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Ozzie Guillen has witnessed quite a few home runs in his major league career as a player and a manager. He's not sure he's seen any longer than Jim Thome's shot Friday night.

Thome's towering three-run homer off a Tropicana Field catwalk and Javier Vazquez's pitching lifted the Chicago White Sox to a 9-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

In the third inning, Thome crushed a 3-2 pitch off rookie Jeff Niemann that hit the "C ring" catwalk in right field. It was the 511th of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Mel Ott for 21st place on the all-time list.

"That's the longest ball I've ever seen," Guillen said. "I don't know if they have enough (to measure the distance).

"It was the first home run that kid (Niemann) gave up and it was to a future Hall of Famer. It's something he can talk about."

Thome has reached base in all 26 games he's played at Tropicana Field.

"That (homer) is right up there," Thome said. "It felt pretty good.

"It's very humbling when you hear your name with those greats (such as Ott). It's really a cool thing."

Konerko homered on the next pitch after Thome's blast, making it 4-0. It was more than enough for Vazquez, who won his third consecutive start.

Vazquez (3-1) escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second and coasted until the sixth inning, when the Rays scored their only two runs. By then, the White Sox had built a 9-0 cushion for Vazquez, who has won six of his last seven dating to last season.

"It was huge to get out of the second, it was 0-0 then," Vazquez said. "If I give up a run, it might have been a different ballgame. You never know."

Vazquez scattered six hits in 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs, one walk and striking out four. Vazquez's leadoff walk to Nathan Haynes in the seventh ended a streak of 75 consecutive batters without a walk.

"I had no problem with the effort," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Vazquez was good."

Thome and Konerko's home runs gave the White Sox a 4-0 lead. In the fourth, the White Sox added four more on Pablo Ozuna's sacrifice fly, Juan Uribe's RBI double and Orlando Cabrera's RBI single. Konerko drove in the final run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

The White Sox won for the 10th time in their last 14 games and rebounded from Thursday's 6-5, 10-inning loss in Baltimore where they blew a 5-2 eighth-inning lead.

"It seems like momentum wise, we came back and that's big," Thome said. "You'll always have losses, but you have to eliminate the long losing streaks."

Niemann (1-1), who won his major league debut by allowing one run in six innings against Baltimore on Wednesday, only lasted 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox.

"That home run Thome hit might have been the longest one I've seen at this ballpark," Maddon said. "Neimann was a little bit off and he tried to be careful when they started scoring runs. They're a good veteran ballclub and they know what to do when they smell blood."

Niemann allowed five hits, eight runs (five earned), walked four and struck out one.

"The walks definitely played a large part and just not making pitches I had to make," Niemann said. "I was pretty erratic and I couldn't really get back in the zone. You learn the hard way."

Rays rookie third baseman Evan Longoria, who agreed to a $17.5 million, six-year contract Friday, went 1-for-3 with an RBI. But his throwing error led to two unearned runs in the fourth.

Thome (three RBI), Konerko (two RBI) and Uribe (2-for-5, two RBI) knocked in seven of the White Sox's nine runs.

With the win, the White Sox remained atop the American League Central, while the Rays stayed in the AL East cellar.

"The way we lost (Thursday) and then to travel here and win is a good sign, a great sign," Guillen said. "We don't carry the loss over to (Friday's) game."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 0 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 9 10 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 7 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHA - JAVIER VAZQUEZ, MATT THORNTON (7TH), NICK MASSET (9TH) AND
    A.J. PIERZYNSKI
    TAM - JEFF NIEMANN, KURT BIRKINS (4TH), SCOTT DOHMANN
    (7TH) AND MIKE DIFELICE

    HO

    Apr 18 10:14 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JONNY GOMES SCORED CARL CRAWFORD AND B.J. UPTON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J GOMES ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 9
    TAMPA BAY 2 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: M DIFELICE (.316, 0-FOR-1, HBP)

    White Sox 9, Rays 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsApr 18 9:18 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JUAN URIBE SCORED CARLOS QUENTIN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J URIBE ON FIRST, P OZUNA ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 9
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: N SWISHER (.280, 1-FOR-1, 2 BB)

    White Sox 9, Rays 0  Top 5, 0 OutsApr 18 8:49 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JERMAINE DYE SCORED ORLANDO CABRERA.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, P KONERKO ON FIRST, J THOME ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 8
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: A PIERZYNSKI (.347, 0-FOR-2)

    White Sox 8, Rays 0  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 18 8:33 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    PAUL KONERKO HIT BY JEFF NIEMANN PITCH WITH BASES LOADED
    SCORED NICK SWISHER.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, P KONERKO ON FIRST, J THOME ON SECOND, O
    CABRERA ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 7
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: J DYE (.345, 0-FOR-2)

    White Sox 7, Rays 0  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 18 8:30 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ORLANDO CABRERA SCORED JUAN URIBE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, O CABRERA ON FIRST, N SWISHER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 6
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: J THOME (.189, 1-FOR-1, BB, HR, 3 RBI)

    White Sox 6, Rays 0  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 18 8:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JUAN URIBE SCORED CARLOS QUENTIN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J URIBE ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 5
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: N SWISHER (.280, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    White Sox 5, Rays 0  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 18 8:20 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY PAUL KONERKO (3) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    3RD OFF JEFF NIEMANN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 4, TAMPA BAY 0
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: J DYE (.351, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 4, Rays 0  Top 3, 0 OutsApr 18 8:02 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JIM THOME (4) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF JEFF NIEMANN SCORED JUAN URIBE AND NICK SWISHER.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3, TAMPA BAY 0
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: P KONERKO (.173, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox 3, Rays 0  Top 3, 0 OutsApr 18 8:01 PM