Thomas became the 36th player to reach the milestone, ripping a solo shot to left field in the fifth inning that capped the scoring for the
With Chicago already leading 6-0, Thomas pulled an 0-1 pitch from Tampa Bay starter
for his 24th of the season. As he touched the plate, Thomas pumped his fist in the air. He was mobbed by his teammates in the dugout and took a curtain call.
Thomas became the eighth active player to reach 400 homers and second this week. On Sunday, Houston's
achieved the milestone at Cincinnati. After the fifth, the
played a video tribute for Thomas, whose first homer was August 28, 1990 at Minnesota.
"I know what I've accomplished and I've done it the right way - hard work in the weight room," Thomas said. "I'm very proud of it, but my goal is 500. It seems like it's a long way, but if you get into the home run groove, it can go fast."
"That's huge for us," Chicago manager
added. "I'm happy to see him do it in the midst of what we are doing as a team right now. I'm very happy that he did at home."
Following Thomas' homer,
doubled to left-center. As Tampa Bay center fielder
fielded the ball, a fan sitting a few rows behind the left field fence threw beer on his head.
"I don't know how you can throw beer at someone that good, but these guys (
fans) might have some practice because it hit me square on the back and side of my head," Baldelli said. "It's just rude. You wouldn't think people would act like that, but they do."
Loaiza (13-5) continued the best season of his career, allowing two runs and eight hits. He struck out two, walked one and took a shutout into the seventh before serving up a two-run home run to
"Este (Loaiza) gives us an opportunity to win each and every outing," Manuel said. "He knew tonight was huge because we didn't have the strength of the bullpen."
Before Thomas' milestone homer,
connected for a two-run shot off Sosa (3-8).
Ordonez added a two-run double for the
, who have won eight in a row for the first time in over three years.
Chicago (53-50) last won eight in a row in June 2000 and is three games over .500 for the first time since April 27.
"Since spring training, we knew we could win the division," Loaiza said. "The first half is over and we have to play better in the second half."
After Loaiza's night ended,
finished the seventh.
finished up, striking out three in two scoreless frames.
scored three times in the first. After Thomas hit a shot to the warning track in left, Ordonez plated
and Lee and scored on Everett's base hit.
In the fifth,
led off with a double, advanced to third on
's groundout and scored on
's single. Olivo was caught stealing second, but Sosa walked Alomar before giving up the back-to-back homers.
Sosa, who defeated Loaiza on July 5, was ripped for seven runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
"We got off to rough start out there," Tampa Bay manager
said. "In the fifth, Sosa just started getting his breaking ball up in the zone and they started hitting him real hard. It's all part of the learning process here. It's not the first time I've said it, and it's certainly not the last either."