Thome hits 493rd career homer to power White Sox past Royals 5-2

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CHICAGO (AP)—The names caught Jim Thome’s attention: Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff.

Thome hit his 493rd homer, pulling into a tie with those two sluggers for 23rd on the career list, and Javier Vazquez won his third straight decision as the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Tuesday night.

“Those are awesome names,” Thome said. “As you play as a young guy and you come up through the big leagues and you mention those types of names, it really kind of puts it in perspective.”

Danny Richar and Paul Konerko also homered for the White Sox, who won for the second time in 10 games and dropped Kansas City back into last place in the AL Central.

Vazquez (11-6) pitched six-plus inning, allowing two runs—one earned—and five hits. He struck out three, walked two and hit two batters.

Bobby Jenks pitched a perfect ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances, one night after the Royals’ Joey Gathright broke his string of 41 consecutive batters retired. Jenks had to settle for a share of the record with Jim Barr of the San Francisco Giants.

Thome’s RBI double to right off Royals starter Leo Nunez gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After a double by Josh Fields in the third, Thome homered on a 1-1 pitch off Nunez, his 21st of the season and one closer to No. 500.

“People talk about it,” Thome said. “It’s tough because you can’t go and try and get home runs, I always said that. Home runs are unique things. There’s getting the right pitch and you have to put the good part of the bat on it, and you might go two weeks and not hit one.”

Kansas City scored in the fourth on Emil Brown’s sacrifice fly, but Richar got it back on a two-out solo shot in the bottom of the inning. It was his third of the season and gave the White Sox a 4-1 lead.

“We’re a little tired,” said Royals manager Buddy Bell. “We tried to stay away from doing some things BP-wise and things like that to kind of give the guys a break.”

Vazquez got into trouble in the sixth inning, giving up a leadoff walk to Billy Butler and Ross Gload’s single. Brown followed with an RBI single, but with runners on first and second, Vazquez struck out Alex Gordon and got John Buck to hit into a double play.

Konerko’s homer off Jimmy Gobble in the ninth was his 24th of the year.

In his fifth major league start, Nunez (2-1) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings. He struck out four and walked two.

Kansas City got a scare in the third, when A.J. Pierzynski hit a ball in foul territory down the line in left. Gathright chased the ball at full speed and did a somersault into the stands, appearing to hit his head on a chair. He was unable to make the catch and stayed down for several minutes, but remained in the game.

“I didn’t look up. I just look at the ball, concentrate on the ball—if I flip over the rail, flip over the rail,” Gathright said. “I just saw some guy last minute. That’s what made me know I was close.”

Notes

The White Sox placed Alex Cintron on the bereavement list and recalled outfielder Andy Gonzalez from Triple-A Charlotte. … Royals outfielder Mark Teahen missed his third straight game with an elbow injury. … Chicago outfielder Scott Podsednik left the game in the fifth inning with a strained right ribcage. … Thome has 34 career home runs against Kansas City. … Left-hander Mike Myers made his White Sox debut in the eighth inning and gave up a single to Gload, the only batter he faced. … White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen used four pitchers to throw nine pitches in the eighth inning. … Konerko went 50 at-bats without a home run.

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