Thome's 599th, 600th lead Twins over Tigers
By Sports Network
|Minnesota Twins' Jim Thome celebrates at home-plate with his teammates after hitting his 600th career home-run. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)
Jim Thome finished 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs -- including his 600th career blast -- and drove in five as Minnesota outslugged Detroit, 9-6, in the opener of a three-game series from Comerica Park.
The historic blast came in the seventh inning off Tigers left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth. The 40-year-old became the eighth player in baseball history to reach the milestone, and the first since Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez last season.
Thome entered play with 598 career homers, and hit his first of the contest -- a two-run blast to left -- in the sixth inning off Detroit starter Rick Porcello.
Ben Revere added two hits and two RBI for the Twins, who won for just the second time in their last 10 games.
Francisco Liriano (8-9) gave up nine hits and five runs over six innings to earn the win. Joe Nathan shut the door in the ninth for his 10th save.
Victor Martinez hit a two-run home run, Ryan Raburn added a solo homer and Alex Avila finished 3-for-4 and a home run short of the cycle for the Tigers, who have lost two in a row following a three-game win streak.
Delmon Young, who was acquired by Detroit prior to the game from Minnesota for pitcher Cole Nelson and a player to be named later, also went deep in the setback.
It didn't help Porcello (11-8), who was tagged in defeat for nine hits and six runs -- four earned -- over six full frames.
In the Minnesota seventh, Trevor Plouffe worked a leadoff walk, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Justin Morneau walked and Jason Kubel fanned, setting the stage for Thome, who struck an opposite-field, three-run shot which barely cleared the wall in left field to give the Twins a 9-5 advantage.
Raburn cut the Tigers deficit to three by greeting Alex Burnett with a homer to left, but after a Miguel Cabrera single, Glen Perkins got the call and prevented further damage. He also recorded the first two outs in the eighth before giving way to Matt Capps.
Nathan retired the side in order in Detroit's final turn.
Young hit a two-out solo shot in the home first which gave the Tigers -- his new club -- a 1-0 lead over his old mates.
Minnesota picked up three runs in the third thanks to a costly error. After Matt Tolbert reached on a bunt single, Raburn's wild throw on a Tsuyoshi Nishioka grounder put runners on the corners. Revere then posted an RBI groundout, Plouffe hit a run-scoring double and Morneau followed two batters later with another RBI two-bagger.
After Cabrera singled, Martinez slugged a two-out homer in the home half for a 3-3 game.
Kubel led off the sixth with a base hit and Thome racked up No. 599 with his two-run blast to left-center. Danny Valencia followed with a walk and scored when a Revere hit rolled all the way to the wall in center, but Minnesota's speedy center fielder was thrown out at home trying to make it an inside-the- park homer. Nonetheless, the visitors led 6-3.
The Tigers came back with two in their turn on a triple from Avila and a Wilson Betemit sacrifice fly.
It was just Minnesota's second win in 10 tries against Detroit this season...Thome joined Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa and Rodriguez in the exclusive 600-homer club. His milestone shot was his 36th homer since joining the Twins prior to last season, and his 504th total long ball hit while playing in the American League.