BOSTON (AP) -
knew how much the
Chicago White Sox
needed a win. He helped them get one with a memorable homer.
Thome hit a two-run shot in the first inning to match
for 14th place with 536 career homers, and Chicago beat the
Boston Red Sox
4-2 on Sunday to end a three-game losing streak.
, you're speechless. What do you say?'' Thome said. ''It's really hard to talk about because when you throw
's name around, that's probably one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.''
Chicago's skid helped Minnesota pull within a half-game of the AL Central-leading
entering play Sunday. Boston, which led the Twins by 3 1/2 games in the wild-card race before Sunday's games, fell 5 1/2 games
back of Tampa Bay in the AL East.
Thome knew the
needed to end their slide heading into a three-game series at Cleveland, and the players discussed the importance of Sunday's
game before the victory.
''Any time you talk about it, the energy level is there from the start. I think we were ready to go, and it showed,'' Thome
said. ''This was probably maybe one of the bigger wins we've had all year.''
To tie Mantle and win at the same time made the day more special.
''Every home run he hits is a milestone,'' Chicago manager
said. ''But I think he's worried more about us winning than his milestones.''
(15-6) went 6 2-3 innings to win his fifth straight decision. He allowed one run and seven hits against a team that outscored
16-4 and outhit them 30-11 in the first two games.
Thome hit a two-out drive in the first and went 2-for-3 against
(8-9) after entering just 6-for-49 with two homers against the knuckleballer in his career. Thome and
hit consecutive two-out doubles in the sixth to give Chicago a 3-1 lead.
''One guy hurt us,
said, ''and he's had a pretty good career.''
were denied their first three-game sweep over the
in Boston since April 1986.
singled in the first for his ninth straight hit, reaching safely in 11 consecutive plate appearances. He went 1-for-4 with
a walk after going 4-for-4 with a walk in each of the previous two games.
Pedroia had a chance to win the game in the ninth, coming up with runners on the corners and two outs. But he flied out against
, who picked up his 27th save in 30 opportunities.
''There wasn't one guy in here that didn't want him up at that point,''
But Jenks didn't give in.
''I'm trying to get ahead with my fastball, he's trying to hit a home run,'' Jenks said. ''I'm not going to change my game
plan. Neither is he.''
Floyd worked out of threats in three of the first four innings, giving up Boston's first run on
's RBI single in the fourth.
squandered a couple of good opportunities early.
They loaded the bases with two outs in the first on singles by
and Pedroia and a walk to
. Then Bay hit a hard liner that third baseman
''We really worked him in that first inning,'' Boston manager
said. ''Then he got comfortable and started throwing that breaking ball.''
In the second, Boston put runners on second and third on a single by
and a double by Ellsbury, who had three hits for the second straight day. But
flied out to end the inning.
After a perfect third, Floyd ran into trouble again in the fourth.
singled and took second on Cash's single. Ellsbury's single scored Bailey and sent Cash to third. Then Ellsbury stole second,
but Lowrie left two runners stranded again when he struck out.
Crede doubled in a run in the ninth.
Notes: Minnesota was at Oakland later on Sunday. ... Ellsbury's two stolen bases gave him 43, fourth-most in
history ahead of the 42 by
in 1914 and
holds the club record of 54 set in 1973. ... Chicago's
went 0-for-10 in the series with five strikeouts. ... Pedroia tied
's single-season record for
second basemen of 183 hits, set in 1922. ... Boston recalled OF
Jonathan Van Every
from Triple-A Pawtucket and sent RHP
to its top farm club one day after he won his major league debut. ... The
from Triple-A Charlotte. He takes the roster spot of RHP
, who was optioned to Charlotte on Saturday night. ... Yankees slugger
is 13th on the career list with 547 homers after hitting one Sunday.