Thome smacked the ball into the left-field seats for his 487th career home run, and the Chicago White Sox added three more runs before Guthrie finally got that elusive third out.
Guthrie was gone by the fourth inning, and Chicago survived a harrowing ninth before closing out a 9-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.
Jermaine Dye had a season-high three hits, including a homer, and Rob Mackowiak also had three hits for the White Sox, who launched an 11-game road trip with their third straight victory. Chicago has won 11 of 16 since dropping 13 games under .500 on June 24.
“I think everybody came back ready to get off to a good start and have a good road trip,” Dye said.
The White Sox got 15 hits, none more important than the first. Thome’s opposite-field drive, which barely cleared the glove of Jay Gibbons at the wall, was his 15th homer of the season and fifth in his last nine games against Baltimore.
“If I execute the pitch the way it’s supposed to be, I could have gotten a better result,” Guthrie said.
Asked to assess Guthrie’s worst start of the year, Orioles interim manager Dave Trembley said, “I really thought he was fine until he got to 0-2 on Thome and gave up the home run.”
Guthrie (4-3) yielded six runs, five earned, and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings — the shortest start of his career. The rookie had not permitted more than four runs or seven hits in any of his previous 13 starts this season.
The right-hander came in ranked second in the AL with a 2.74 ERA. He’s now fifth at 3.07.
“The guy has pitched almost like he was invincible, and tonight he showed he’s vulnerable,” Trembley said.
Chicago starter Jon Garland was very vulnerable in his previous outing, when he gave up 12 runs in 3 1-3 innings against Minnesota. On this night, however, Garland (7-6) allowed two runs and eight hits over seven innings in winning his fourth straight start against Baltimore.
After his dud against the Twins on July 6, Garland couldn’t wait to get back on the mound.
“That one stuck with me because of the break. Everybody who talked to me on the phone wanted to know why, why,” he said. “You like those days off, but this one could not have come fast enough.”
Kevin Millar had three hits, a homer and four RBIs for Baltimore, now 9-10 under Trembley.
The Orioles trailed 9-2 before scoring five runs in the ninth. After Corey Patterson hit an RBI single and Luis Hernandez got his first major league hit, a run-scoring double, Millar hit a three-run homer off Boone Logan.
“We kept battling. It turned out to be an exciting game; we got the tying run to the plate,” Millar said. “We kept getting good at-bats in the ninth inning. That’s the sign of a good team.”
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen refused to criticize Dewon Day and Logan, who struggled before Jenks sealed the win.
“Bobby has a deal with the bullpen: Make sure you guys give me a chance to close the game,” Guillen said with a grin. “I don’t have no comment about the bullpen because I don’t want to start the second half off on a bad foot.”
After Thome homered in the first, the White Sox peeled off three straight singles, including an RBI hit by Dye, before Mackowiak doubled in two runs.
“I think I made bad pitches with two strikes. That was the biggest key in the first inning,” Guthrie said. “Four out of those five hits were with two strikes. I put myself in position to get some outs but I couldn’t finish them off.”
Baltimore got a run in the bottom half on a grounder by Huff.
Dye hit his 13th homer in the third inning, and A.J. Pierzynski chased Guthrie with an RBI double that made it 6-1 in the fourth.
Asked how many more wins the White Sox would have had in the first half if they hit like this, Guillen replied, “At least 20 more, no doubt.”
Orioles 3B Melvin Mora started for the first time since bruising his foot on July 1. But he aggravated the injury and left after one inning. He will get an MRI and CAT scan on Friday, Trembley said. … Chicago has 19 homers in its last 10 games. … Garland is 15-3 in his last 22 starts on the road.