CHICAGO (AP)—The Chicago White Sox showed off their power in front of one of the best sluggers in the history of the franchise.
“There’s going to be a lot of home runs,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Everybody knows this ballpark in the summer is pretty dangerous.”
Former White Sox standout Frank Thomas, who signed with Oakland in the offseason, went 0-for-1 with three walks and was hit by a pitch in his second game in Chicago with the A’s. He homered twice in his return to Chicago on Monday, but the White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 in 10 innings.
“It was good to see a lot of pitches,” said Thomas, who is hitting just .194. “They made quality pitches almost every pitch. But I can still take a walk. It was good to take three tonight.”
Thome, Konerko and Dye combined to go 5-for-9 with five RBIs, six walks and five runs on Tuesday. While the White Sox have had many dangerous 3-4-5 combinations in the past, this one looks especially potent. The trio have combined for 42 of the team’s 69 homers and all are hitting around .300.
“We’re doing what we should be doing,” Konerko said. “We’re going up there trying to drive the ball and drive in runs.”
Javier Vazquez pitched six effective innings, overcoming wildness to earn the win.
Konerko’s two-run shot, his 12th, made it 3-0 and gave the slugger sole possession of third place on the team’s career list with 215. He passed Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk. Dye’s homer was also his 12th. Thome added a solo shot off Kirk Saarloos in the second to give Chicago a 5-0 lead.
“The middle of our lineup has a chance to be special, really our whole lineup,” said Thome, who was part of some power-packed Cleveland teams in the ’90s. “I think everyone knows their role and everyone is doing a good job.”
Playing against Thomas, the man he replaced as Chicago’s designated hitter, Thome thrilled the sellout crowd with three hits and three runs. His 18 homers lead the AL, and he added a run-scoring double in the sixth to give him 43 RBIs, also tops in the AL. His 41 runs ties him with Cleveland’s Travis Hafner for the league lead. He left the game for a pinch runner after singling in the eighth because of a tweaked right groin.
Thome said he’ll be fine on Wednesday.
While he put up the best hitting numbers in team history, Thomas had been battling injuries over the past five years and the White Sox showed no remorse in cutting him loose after 16 seasons. Thomas’ three walks had his manager thinking about moving him up the lineup.
“If that’s how they’re going to pitch to him, then I’ll lead him off tomorrow, how’s that?” Oakland’s Ken Macha said, chuckling.
Oakland’s Eric Chavez hit a three-run homer, his 11th, in the third to make it 5-3. Vazquez, struggling with his control, then walked Bobby Crosby and Jay Payton and hit Jason Kendall with a pitch to load the bases with two outs before getting out of the jam.
“He had that one bad inning, which has kind of plagued him a little bit,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “If we can get him to cut the three (runs) to a one or a two, it would have been a really good start.”
The White Sox scored one run in the fourth and three in the sixth to protect the lead.
Vazquez (5-3) gave up three runs and six hits, walking four. He also threw a wild pitch. Vazquez had lost consecutive starts after winning four straight.
“I battled my command all day,” Vazquez said. “I’m just glad we got the win.”
Saarloos (2-2) allowed six runs in 4 1-3 innings on his 27th birthday. He yielded eight hits and walked five, one intentionally.
Scott Podsednik walked leading off the first, went to second on a sacrifice and stole third before scoring on Kendall’s errant throw. Thome followed with a walk and scored on Konerko’s homer.
Alex Cintron had an RBI single in the fourth. Pierzynski hit an RBI single in the sixth to make it 8-3.
Podsednik’s 17 steals lead the AL. … The White Sox have hit back-to-back home runs five times this season. … The White Sox drew their fifth straight sellout and 11th of the season. … Jeff Nelson made his first appearance with the White Sox after getting called up from Triple-A Charlotte before the game. The 39-year-old reliever hadn’t pitched in the majors this season since being released by St. Louis at the end of spring training. He entered with two outs in the seventh and walked Thomas on six pitches before getting a flyout to end the inning. … At 30-15, the White Sox are a season-high 15 games over .500.