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Thome hits historic home run

Thome hits historic home run

ST. PETERSBURG -- After going 0-for-3 in Saturday's shutout loss, designated hitter Jim Thome didn't wait long to get the White Sox back on the board.

Thome blasted a 2-2 pitch off Rays starter Edwin Jackson in the first inning on Sunday for his 512th career home run, tying him with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 19th on the all-time list.

"There's a lot of respect for those guys and what they have done for the game," Thome said of Banks and Mathews. "And to be a part of that is special as well. It's very humbling to have those names mentioned."

The two-out solo shot was Thome's fifth of the season. It sailed over the right-center-field wall at Tropicana Field, travelling an estimated 406 feet. The Rays' home ballpark long has been a sweet spot for Thome's bat, as he has reached base in 27 of 28 career games in St. Petersburg.

But Sunday afternoon was spectacular, even by Thome's standards. After entering the series a dismal 3-for-37 against right-handers, like Jackson, he finished 4-for-5 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored in Chicago's 6-0 victory. Additionally, Thome's solo dinger was the 25th homer for the White Sox, who lead the American League. Thome's four hits also tied a career high. He last managed that feat on Sept. 6, 2006.

"It felt good to do that and get a 'W,'" Thome said. "We faced a good pitcher. [Jackson has] got really good stuff, and we were fortunate that we had some pretty good at-bats. So, all in all, it was a very good day."

It also was a very good series for Thome, who hit home run No. 511 on Friday, a blast Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said was the longest ball he had seen anyone hit.

"If that ball didn't hit the catwalk, it would have hit the wall out there [behind the scoreboard]," Guillen said.

Although Thome's homer on Sunday afternoon didn't equal the distance of Friday's rocket, it moved the slugger closer to former teammate Frank Thomas, who has 516 home runs.

"It never hurts," pitcher John Danks said of Thome's offensive support. "You love seeing him come up, especially with runners on base. And you know he's been swinging the bat well, [and he] had a big game today."

The homer caps off a whirlwind week for Thome, who served a one-game suspension on Tuesday for his actions in the game against the Tigers on April 11. Thome also drew a pair of walks on Thursday to move past Willie Mays into 18th place all-time with 1,456.

Next in line for Thome, who now has 1,458 career walks, is Hall of Famer Eddie Collins (1,499).

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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