505: Thomas enters career top 20

MIKE RUTSEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

While Barry Bonds labours to be No. 1, Frank Thomas yesterday motored past Eddie Murray and into sole possession of 20th spot on the career home run list.

Number 504, a three-run shot, occurred in the first inning when the Blue Jays piled up six runs en route to a 9-5 victory over the Texas Rangers.

The Big Hurt added No. 505, a solo blast, in the third.

The next target for Thomas is Mel Ott and his 511 home runs.

"He's one of my buddies," Thomas said of Murray, the retired Baltimore Orioles great. "He is one of the greatest of all time so it's a good feeling, a real good feeling."

In his 2006 season with the Oakland A's, where he hit 39 homers and drove in 114 runs, 16 of those homers and 55 of those RBIs were collected over the final two months.

The Jays, and Thomas, would like to see another fast finish and, given his production the past two games -- two homers, six RBIs -- maybe he is on his way.

"That's why we play six months," Thomas said. "The first four have been so up and down, you just never know what might happen the last two months. I have to get my focus on and give this team everything I've got down the stretch because you just never know where we might find each other in September."

Whether it's a case of it all coming a little too late for the 2007 Jays remains to be seen, but better late then never.

The first homer by Thomas snapped an embarrassing string of 66 consecutive innings since the Jays' previous home run -- belted on July 25 by Gregg Zaun.

The recipient of the run production yesterday was starter Shaun Marcum, who moved to 8-4 with the win.

HELP FOR MARCUM

The runs came on the right day for Marcum. The right-hander didn't have his good control and, instead of pitching to corners, was pitching to the "halves" of the plate.

"It takes a lot pressure off me. Now I can pitch to the halves," Marcum said of the run support. "If you don't walk people (he didn't) and you make them put the ball in play, it's going to be a pretty good day for you.

"It's hard to hit a six-run home run. I don't think anybody has ever done that."

The Jays have not been so kind to Marcum who has seen plenty of low-scoring affairs.

"I'll take it," he said of the runs. "I'm kind of used to pitching with 0-0, 1-0 games. It was a little different out there today but it was a good day for our offence."


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