Thome's revenge: Winning blast puts Sox four back

Thome's revenge: Winning blast puts Sox four back
August 18, 2010, 3:26 am
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Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010
Updated 12:19 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

MINNEAPOLIS Before Tuesday night's game, Bobby Jenks was nonplussed by the Minnesota Twins.

These three games, yeah, they are important, but not that important, said the erstwhile Chicago White Sox closer. Its not going to matter what we do here if we cant go out and beat the rest of our division.

True enough. But the White Sox would do well to at least stay in Minnesotas rear-view mirror, eh?

Such a goal is becoming less and less of a physical possibility, as the Pale Hose struck two unlikely rallies but still could not drop the Twins.

Jim Thome hit a walk-off, two-run homer to lead Minnesota to a 7-6 win in 10 innings, before a 54th straight sellout at Target Field.

It feels good, Thome said after the game, bleary-eyed from a shaving cream pie dealt him for his heroics. I know I was in for a challenge against Matt Thornton. I couldnt get his first fastball, but then I caught him. Its such a great win for us.

If it was Denard Span who hit the winning home run, Id be crying right now, said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who declared that hed take the matchup of Thornton vs. Thome over and over again. But Jim Thome has what, 600 home runs? Tip your hat, come back tomorrow ready to win.

Alexei Ramirez had extended the game to extra innings with a leadoff, ninth-inning home run off of Minny closer Matt Capps, then pushed home the apparent winning run in the 10th with a single to center field. But the White Sox could muster no more; after rallying to load the bases with one out, Paul Konerko hit into a 4-6-3 double play to extinguish the threat.

As far as can be told, the hustle points the White Sox receive for battling back from a 4-0, first-inning deficit, or tying the game at five in the ninth, or pushing ahead 6-5 in the 10th dont count in the standings. Chicago dug a four-run hole for the second straight game, and starter John Danks put it all on himself.

I put us in a hole against a good team, he said. Ive relied on my cutter all year, and I didnt have it today. We fought back, but I didnt do us any favors.

Tuesdays mugging came in the first frame and was perpetrated by Orlando Hudson (solo homer), Jason Kubel (two-run triple) and Thome (RBI single through the shift), threatening to bury the White Sox early.

Yet as the early night air in the Great White North squeezed wafer-thin, balls started flying off the White Sox bats as well. Konerko led off the second inning with a solo shot, followed two batters later by Mark Kotsay, who deposited out a two-run bomb. Two innings later, it was A.J. Pierzynski scoring Kotsay with a double that completed the comeback.

Minnesota took the lead on Delmon Youngs seven-iron shot in the fifth inning, which put the Twins up by one and reliever Glen Perkins in line for the win. Perkins, Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain strung together 3 13 innings of scoreless relief seemingly to ice the game for Minnesota.

Danks indeed may have deserved a better fate, having fought back after tossing 48 pitching in the first two innings and spreading just 56 over the next five frames.

Despite assuming the responsibility for the loss, it was Danks who sounded determined after this disappointing loss even as he was encumbered by the sobriety of a four-game deficit in the standings.

We know we have a good team over here, and weve rallied hard all season. Were a tough bunch of guys, Danks said. Were not going to stop fighting until they tell us theres no reason to fight any more.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.