White Sox hit 4 homers to rout Pirates

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CHICAGO (AP)—Jim Thome reached another milestone on a night he helped the Chicago White Sox register season highs in runs and hits.

Thome’s three-run homer—the White Sox’s fourth home run of the night—in a 16-5 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates was the 521st of his career and tied him with Willie McCovey and Ted Williams for 16th all-time.

“Very, very special,” Thome said Tuesday night. “You never imagine when you are thrown in with names (like) McCovey and Ted Williams. That’s pretty neat. It really is. It was a nice night and we scored a lot of runs and it’s even more special when you do that.”

Jermaine Dye, Joe Crede and Orlando Cabrera also homered and Chicago finished with 19 hits.

But Thome’s drive that capped a five-run seventh was by far the one creating the most buzz. He said he got the ball back, too, in exchange for some autographed items.

“I remember my dad talking about Ted Williams, what a great hitter he was and just the great things he did,” Thome said. “It’s something hard to imagine being in a class or in a same group with those men.”

Dye had a solo homer and a two-run double, Crede a two-run homer and run-scoring double, and Cabrera a two-run homer and sacrifice fly to lead the AL Central leaders to their second win in seven games.

Nick Swisher, who’ll man first base with Paul Konerko going on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained oblique muscle, reached base five straight times with three hits and two walks.

The 16 runs came after the White Sox were held to only three combined in their previous two games against the Rockies.

“Thing is, just don’t do it for one game,” manager Ozzie Guillen said.

“We’ve been swinging the bats pretty well and then we hit a little rut there and kind of slowed down,” Thome said. “Hopefully we’re picking it back up. … Baseball is a weird game. You never really know how it’s all going to pan out, but if you keep the same approach and attitude and stay positive, you have nights like tonight.”

Pittsburgh, playing without an ill Jason Bay and an injured Xavier Nady, got a homer from Jose Bautista.

Javier Vazquez (7-5) allowed five hits and five runs in six innings to get the victory.

The White Sox broke a 5-5 tie with a two-run fifth and finished Pirates starter Ian Snell (3-7), who threw 105 pitches in a laborious 4-plus innings. He allowed seven runs, nine hits and six walks, and also had a balk.

“They didn’t swing at any bad pitches at all,” Snell said. “It’s not the same as the National League where you get your curveball over the plate just a little bit and they swing.

“I felt like I couldn’t get anything on the ball. It didn’t matter anyway, because whatever I threw over the plate, they’d hit. I just stunk.”

Swisher walked to lead off in the fifth and raced around to score when Crede’s liner was apparently misjudged by left fielder Jason Michaels, who leaped at the last second and had the ball sail over his head for a double. Crede took third on the relay throw to the plate that shorthopped catcher Ryan Doumit as a sliding Swisher scored. Alexei Ramirez then followed with his second RBI single of the game.

Swisher had a two-out RBI double past first in the sixth and Crede followed with his 15th homer, off reliever Franquelis Osoria, for a 10-5 lead. Cabrera and Thome homered off Marino Salas in the seventh.

Dye’s 12th homer, a double by Swisher, an RBI single by Ramirez and sacrifice fly by Cabrera after the balk gave Chicago three runs in the third and a 5-4 lead.

But Vazquez again couldn’t hold a lead, surrendering Bautista’s two-out solo homer in the fourth.

With the White Sox ahead 2-0, the first five Pittsburgh batters reached in a four-run second. Michaels delivered a two-run double, Doug Mientkiewicz had a run-scoring single and Nate McLouth added a sacrifice fly to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.

Chicago scored two in the first and had an even bigger inning brewing before Crede hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Dye had a two-run, bases loaded double.

Notes

Bay sat out with the flu. Nady, who sprained his left shoulder when he hit a wall while chasing a foul fly in Baltimore on Saturday night, had an improved range of motion. But the team was still waiting to see if it would improve enough to keep him off the DL. … The Pirates agreed to terms with shortstops Jordy Mercer and Chase D’Arnaud, their third- and fourth-round draft picks, respectively, in the draft. The Pirates have signed 24 of their 50 picks. … The White Sox’s previous season highs were 17 hits and 13 runs.

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