Thome, Floyd lead White Sox to win over Red Sox
Thome hit a two-run shot in the first inning to match Mickey Mantle for 14th place with 536 career homers, and Chicago beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 on Sunday to end a three-game losing streak.
“To tie Mickey Mantle, you’re speechless. What do you say?” Thome said. “It’s really hard to talk about because when you throw Mickey Mantle’s name around, that’s probably one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.”
Chicago’s skid helped Minnesota pull within a half-game of the AL Central-leading White Sox entering play Sunday. Boston, which led the Twins by 3 1/2 games in the wild-card race before Sunday’s games, fell 5 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay in the AL East.
Thome knew the White Sox needed to end their slide heading into a three-game series at Cleveland, and the players discussed the importance of Sunday’s game before the victory.
“Any time you talk about it, the energy level is there from the start. I think we were ready to go, and it showed,” Thome said. “This was probably maybe one of the bigger wins we’ve had all year.”
To tie Mantle and win at the same time made the day more special.
“Every home run he hits is a milestone,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “But I think he’s worried more about us winning than his milestones.”
Gavin Floyd (15-6) went 6 2-3 innings to win his fifth straight decision. He allowed one run and seven hits against a team that outscored the White Sox 16-4 and outhit them 30-11 in the first two games.
Thome hit a two-out drive in the first and went 2-for-3 against Tim Wakefield (8-9) after entering just 6-for-49 with two homers against the knuckleballer in his career. Thome and Paul Konerko hit consecutive two-out doubles in the sixth to give Chicago a 3-1 lead.
“One guy hurt us, Jim Thome,” Boston’s Kevin Cash said, “and he’s had a pretty good career.”
The Red Sox were denied their first three-game sweep over the White Sox in Boston since April 1986.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia singled in the first for his ninth straight hit, reaching safely in 11 consecutive plate appearances. He went 1-for-4 with a walk after going 4-for-4 with a walk in each of the previous two games.
Pedroia had a chance to win the game in the ninth, coming up with runners on the corners and two outs. But he flied out against Bobby Jenks, who picked up his 27th save in 30 opportunities.
“There wasn’t one guy in here that didn’t want him up at that point,” Jason Bay said.
But Jenks didn’t give in.
“I’m trying to get ahead with my fastball, he’s trying to hit a home run,” Jenks said. “I’m not going to change my game plan. Neither is he.”
Floyd worked out of threats in three of the first four innings, giving up Boston’s first run on Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI single in the fourth.
The Red Sox squandered a couple of good opportunities early.
“We really worked him in that first inning,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “Then he got comfortable and started throwing that breaking ball.”
After a perfect third, Floyd ran into trouble again in the fourth. Jeff Bailey singled and took second on Cash’s single. Ellsbury’s single scored Bailey and sent Cash to third. Then Ellsbury stole second, but Lowrie left two runners stranded again when he struck out.
Crede doubled in a run in the ninth.
Minnesota was at Oakland later on Sunday. … Ellsbury’s two stolen bases gave him 43, fourth-most in Red Sox history ahead of the 42 by Tris Speaker in 1914 and Otis Nixon in 1994. Tommy Harper holds the club record of 54 set in 1973. … Chicago’s Nick Swisher went 0-for-10 in the series with five strikeouts. … Pedroia tied Del Pratt’s single-season record for Red Sox second basemen of 183 hits, set in 1922. … Boston recalled OF Jonathan Van Every from Triple-A Pawtucket and sent RHP Michael Bowden to its top farm club one day after he won his major league debut. … The White Sox recalled LHP Boone Logan from Triple-A Charlotte. He takes the roster spot of RHP Lance Broadway, who was optioned to Charlotte on Saturday night. … Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is 13th on the career list with 547 homers after hitting one Sunday.