Thome’s Shot Trumps McGwire’s Slam
Jim Thome couldn’t wait to tell his paralyzed 15-year-old nephew, Brandon, about his latest game-winning home run.
“This is going to pump him up,” Thome said.
Thome hit his fourth home run in two games at Cleveland, a first-pitch shot in the 10th inning, to lift the Indians to a 7-6 victory Saturday over the St. Louis Cardinals, who got a grand slam from Mark McGwire.
Thome was sure he lifted Brandon’s spirits too.
Three weeks ago, Brandon Thome, a high school pitcher, broke his neck while diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool and is paralyzed from the waist down.
“He’s doing a lot better,” said Thome, who speaks to his nephew by telephone every day and has visited him several times.
Thome said they spoke Saturday morning after he hit three two-run homers in a 14-2 victory over the Cardinals.
“He told me to hit him another one,” Thome said. “I guess I’m going to have to keep calling him regularly.”
Thome walked in his first four at-bats before driving a belt-high fastball from Dave Veres (0-1) over the wall in right field for his 26th homer.
Cardinal right fielder Albert Pujols didn’t flinch as Thome’s 462-foot shot sailed over him and the Indians improved to 4-5 on their homestand.
McGwire hit his 562nd career homer, a grand slam in the fourth inning, to move one behind Reggie Jackson for sixth place on the career homer list.
Boston 3, Atlanta 1--Hideo Nomo gave up five hits in six innings, and Manager Jimy Williams earned his 400th victory in Boston as the Red Sox won at home.
Nomo (8-4) gave up one run, walked three and struck out five before he was lifted after a leadoff single in the seventh. When he saw Williams come out to the mound, Nomo slammed the ball into his glove and turned to face left field.
Williams is the sixth manager in Red Sox history to win at least 400 games and the first since Don Zimmer from 1976-80.
Minnesota 7, Cincinnati 6--Pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, lifting the Twins to a victory over the Reds at Minneapolis.
The first-place Twins have won 12 of 14, and they maintained their four-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central.
Pierzynski’s deep fly ball to right field off Hector Mercado easily scored Denny Hocking, who started the eighth with a double off reliever Jim Brower (4-6) and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Jacque Jones.
Baltimore 4, Philadelphia 3--Brady Anderson hit a bases-loaded triple in his first at-bat in 10 games as the Orioles ended a four-game skid at Baltimore.
Chris Richard went four for four and Jay Gibbons homered for the Orioles, who improved to 2-4 against Philadelphia this season.
Anderson’s key hit in the sixth inning came one day after Manager Mike Hargrove told the 37-year-old outfielder his playing time would be reduced to make way for Gibbons and Richard. Anderson had been sidelined because of a sore shoulder.
Chicago Cubs 10, Detroit 6--Ron Coomer drove in five runs and Eric Young had three hits and scored three runs at Detroit to lead the Cubs to their third win in a row.
Young is eight for 15 during the winning streak, and has scored six runs in the last two games. The Cubs have scored 10 runs in three consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 11-13, 1998.
Houston 10, Kansas City 8--Jeff Bagwell tied a club record with seven RBIs as the Astros won at Kansas City, Mo.
Bagwell went three for five with a home run and two doubles for the Astros, who scored four runs in each of the first two innings and won for the 10th time in 13 games.
Lance Berkman went four for five with a home run to extend his hitting streak to an NL-best 20 games.
Chicago White Sox 4, Pittsburgh 1--Kip Wells gave up four hits over a career-high 8 1/3 innings, and the White Sox hit four solo home runs in a victory at Chicago.
Chris Singleton, Mark Johnson, rookie Aaron Rowand and Paul Konerko hit home runs for the White Sox, who are 3-6 on their 10-game homestand.
Toronto 9, Montreal 8--In a game that featured Toronto’s Cesar Izturis hitting an inside-the-park home run for his first career homer, pinch-hitter Tony Fernandez hit a tiebreaking single in the 11th inning in the Blue Jays’ wild victory at Toronto.
Raul Mondesi hit a one-out triple off Scott Strickland (1-4), who then intentionally walked Carlos Delgado and Brad Fullmer to load the bases. Fernandez, who hit for Alex Gonzalez, singled past a drawn in infield for the win.
Texas 4, San Diego 3--Andres Galarraga and Gabe Kapler had consecutive pinch-hit run-producing singles in the seventh inning to help the Rangers rally for a victory at San Diego.
Tampa Bay 4, Florida 3--Albie Lopez stopped his 10-game losing streak, and Fred McGriff went three for four with three RBIs in the Devil Rays’ victory at St. Petersburg, Fla.