Thome's 541st Homer A Real Blast Print E-mail
Written by Fred Mitchell   
Wednesday, 01 October 2008

Jim Thome will remember home run number 541 as much as he will his milestone 500th.

The Chicago White Sox designated hitter belted a solo shot in Tuesday's one-game tie-breaker to give his team a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. The 7th-inning blast to left-center sent the White Sox to the American League Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Thome's White Sox teammate, Ken Griffey Jr., added a double in the same inning.

"Two Hall of Famers," exclaimed White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker after his team exceeded all odds by beating three different teams in three days to ascend to the postseason.

Chicago beat the Cleveland Indians last Sunday to stay alive in the AL Central race, one-half game behind the Twins. Then the Sox hosted the Detroit Tigers on Monday in a makeup game from earlier in the season. The Sox prevailed 5-1 behind the stellar pitching of Mark Buehrle to pull even with the Twins with 88-74 records.

Tuesday night's match-up against the Twins was particularly fascinating since Minnesota swept the White Sox in Minneapolis the previous week to take over first place. But Monday night, John Danks took the mound and out-dueled Nick Blackburn to bring home the division title. With the cross-town Cubs already locked into the National League playoffs, this marks the first time in 102 years that both the Sox and Cubs are in the postseason at the same time.

"Any time you do something to help your team advance, it's a special feeling," said Thome. "It's unbelievable, to battle like we did and keep battling and keep battling."

The White Sox entered their American League Division Championship Series against Tampa Bay as underdogs once again.

"We will take our chances," said Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "Right now we injected new oxygen for the guys and we will be ready for them."





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