White Sox 6, Padres 5

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CHICAGO (AP)—Frank Thomas is finally getting the response he wants from the fans.

Thomas hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, rallying the Chicago White Sox past the San Diego Padres 6-5 Saturday night.

Thomas, who has homered in three straight games, got a standing ovation from the crowd, prompting a curtain call.

“It was great. When I have been good, they love me,” Thomas said. “When I have been bad they’ve shown it, too. It goes hand in hand, but it was definitely a proud moment for me.”

Thomas was criticized last July when he showed up late and missed the team’s pregame stretch after he was unhappy about being benched.

But everybody was happy Saturday night.

“It was encouraging, he’s had some problems with the fans—at least throughout the time that I have been here,” White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. “It was great to see him hit that home run and to give them somewhat of a curtain call. That was a good moment for us.”

Carlos Lee hit a three-run shot and Magglio Ordonez also homered for Chicago. Billy Koch retired Ryan Klesko on a flyball with the bases loaded to end it.

The Padres, who are 8-25 on the road, have lost 23 of 30 overall.

“These are really tough losses because we’re losing the lead late in the games,” Mark Loretta said. “It hurts a lot. But it shows our team has a lot of character because we’ve been battling all year.”

With the White Sox trailing 5-4 in the eighth, Padres reliever Jay Witasick (0-1) gave up a single to Tony Graffanino. Thomas followed by hitting 1-1 pitch into the left-field bullpen for a 6-5 lead.

“Fortunately, I got the pitch that I was looking for and it happened,” Thomas said. “I was looking fastball, I knew they were going to try to keep it in on me.”

Tom Gordon (4-5) got two outs to earn the victory. Koch walked two in a hitless ninth for his eighth save in 10 opportunities.

Loretta singled off White Sox reliever Rick White leading off the eighth and moved to second on Klesko’s groundout.

Sean Burroughs followed with a drive to left that Lee dropped at the warning track for a double, but Loretta couldn’t score because he was waiting at second to tag up. Brian Buchanan broke the 4-4 tie with a sacrifice fly.

With the Padres trailing 4-2, Mark Kotsay led off the sixth with a single and Loretta doubled. Kotsay scored on Klesko’s groundout.

Burroughs chased White Sox starter Dan Wright with a double to left, scoring Loretta to tie it at 4.

Thomas was hit by a pitch leading off the fourth and Ordonez walked. Lee connected on an 0-1 pitch from Brian Lawrence, giving the White Sox a 4-1 lead.

Ordonez homered leading off the second, his 12th of the season. It landed deep in the stands in left field and was estimated at 436 feet.

Loretta scored for the Padres in the fourth while Klesko got trapped in a rundown between first and second on a pickoff play.

With two outs in the fifth, Wright walked Gary Bennett and Donaldo Mendez followed with an RBI double.

Lawrence allowed four runs on five hits in seven innings.

Wright gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He is still lookingfor his first win this season.

Notes

Loretta went 3-for-4, raising his batting average to .460 in June. …Chicago’s Paul Konerko went 0-for-2, dropping his average to .195.

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