Work in Sports
Thome homered twice to reach the 20-homer plateau for the seventh straight season and Kenny Lofton had three RBI and scored three times as the Indians posted an 8-6 triumph over the Chicago White Sox.
The five-time defending Central Division champion Indians were 8 1/2 games out of first place following Monday's loss in the opener of the four-game series. But Cleveland has rebounded to win the last two contests and revitalize its hopes of another title.
Thome's seven straight 20-homer seasons match Hal Trosky's club record, set between 1949-55. He also moved into a tie with Trosky for third place on the Indians' all-time list with 216 home runs.
"It's good to win and that's the main thing; we won the game," Thome said. "We're excited. We got a big win last night and today too, but we're not back yet because we have ground to make up. But, I believe we can do that."
Dave Burba (8-2) started for Cleveland, allowing four runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven in winning for the seventh time in his last eight decisions.
"Never a dull moment," said Indians manager Charlie Manuel. "It was a good game. We scored early and often and it was exciting at the end."
"I fought all night with my fastball and obviously, Charlie had seen enough," Burba said. "But, I don't blame him. The bottom line is that we won the game but for me, my struggles continue."
"It was obvious he didn't have his best stuff tonight and when you don't bring your best stuff against a good offensive club, you can get hurt," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "We also have to realize he is human and he is prone to having a bad outing."
"I didn't have my good stuff tonight but the team made a nice comeback and will be all right," Baldwin said. "My breaking ball wasn't there and I was struggling with my stuff."
Lofton got the Indians going immediately. He opened the contest with a triple and scored on Omar Vizquel's double. Alomar bunted Vizquel over but the sacrifice proved moot when Thome drilled a 2-1 pitch 432 feet over the right-center field wall for a 3-0 lead.
Alex Ramirez opened the second inning with his third homer for a 4-2 advantage and Cleveland tacked on three runs in the fifth. Sandy Alomar tripled and scored on Lofton's single up the middle. Vizquel beat out an infield hit and Beirne came on for Baldwin, who did not want to leave the game.
Roberto Alomar lofted a sacrifice fly for a 6-2 lead and Thome followed with his 20th home run. It marked Thome's 12th career multi-homer game.
Chicago scored twice in the sixth, on Konerko's two-run homer that plated Frank Thomas. The White Sox had two aboard later in the inning but Justin Speier got Carlos Lee on a foulout to end the uprising.
In the seventh, Jesus Pena allowed a run when Lofton doubled, went to third on a single by Vizquel and scored on Roberto Alomar's double-play grounder. Thomas hit his 17th homer in the seventh to slice Chicago's deficit to 8-5 and the White Sox had two aboard before Speier retired Chris Singleton on a lineout to second.
Chicago also had a chance to cut into the deficit in the eighth, when the first two batters reached. But Reed got Brook Fordyce on a lineout and Karsay came on to get Ray Durham and Jose Valentin on flyouts.
Thomas opened the ninth with a homer, his 18th. It marked his 16th career multi-homer game but first since April 18, 1998 against Toronto. Konerko singled one out later but Karsay struck out Singleton and retired Jeff Abbott on a grounder to first to secure the victory.
Konerko recorded four hits in a game for the third time in his career while Frank Thomas, who has had five hits in a game, went 4-for-5.
Thomas' second home run gave Chicago 100 in 71 games this season, establishing a team record. The 1977 squad needed 79 contests to reach the century mark.
"I'm in a good groove right now but both me and the team need to stay focused. It's a long season," Thomas said.