White Sox cling to division lead

Thome hits 535th homer in victory

Pittsburgh third baseman Andy LaRoche stares as Chicago's Aramis Ramirez rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run. Pittsburgh third baseman Andy LaRoche stares as Chicago's Aramis Ramirez rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run. (KEITH SRAKOCIC/Associated Press)
Associated Press / August 26, 2008
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Jim Thome climbed another notch on the career home run list - and prevented the Chicago White Sox from dropping out of first place in the AL Central.

Thome hit his 535th homer to gain sole possession of 15th place, and the White Sox beat the Orioles, 4-3, last night in Baltimore after losing the completion of a game suspended by rain.

The "split" enabled the White Sox to remain a game ahead of the Minnesota Twins, who lost in Seattle.

"Anytime you got a team like Minnesota that's right there [and] we're getting close to September, that kind of enhances it," Thome said.

Thome's 28th homer of the season gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead in the sixth. The drive, off Baltimore rookie Chris Waters, moved Chicago's designated hitter past Jimmie Foxx and put him within one of Mickey Mantle on baseball's home run chart.

"Very special," Thome said. "We've talked about it. Anytime you can tie or move ahead of the greats that played the game, it's very humbling. It's something you look back and feel very honored. You cherish that, for sure."

Earlier, Lou Montanez singled in the tiebreaking run in the 14th inning to give the Orioles a 4-3 victory in a game halted in Chicago after 11 innings on April 28.

With the score 3-all in the finale of a four-game series in Chicago, play was stopped with the infield unplayable. It was the Orioles' final scheduled visit, so baseball officials ruled that the game would be completed in Baltimore - with the White Sox playing the strange role of the home team at Camden Yards.

After the Orioles scored in the top of the 14th, Rocky Cherry retired pinch hitter Jermaine Dye on a popup with the bases loaded and two outs.

Mariners 4, Twins 2 - Adrian Beltre homered off Jesse Crain in the bottom of the 11th inning, and Seattle kept Minnesota out of a tie for first place in the AL Central.

With one out in the 11th, Crain (5-4) walked Raul Ibanez on a full count. Then Beltre drilled a low, first-pitch fastball over the left-field fence to give Seattle the win.

Joe Nathan blew his fourth save in 38 chances in the ninth, when Beltre scored after a leadoff double. Two of those blown saves have come against woeful Seattle, the AL's worst team.

Cubs 12, Pirates 3 - Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run homer and visiting Chicago won its third in a row to retain the majors' best record.

Two Cubs hitters who were slumping, Jim Edmonds and Kosuke Fukudome, also had big games as the Cubs improved to 81-50 - the first time they've been 31 games above .500 since they ended the 1984 season with a 96-65 record.

Fukudome, hitting .161 in August when the game began, drove in four runs with a sacrifice fly, a two-run single during a five-run fifth inning that made it 10-1, and an RBI double. He has six RBIs in five at-bats during his last two games. Edmonds had three extra-base hits, a triple and two doubles, after being 0 for 17 over his previous seven games.

Athletics 2, Angels 1 - Dallas Braden pitched seven masterful innings, Daric Barton homered, and Oakland beat Los Angeles in Anaheim, Calif.

Braden (4-3) allowed a run and seven hits without recording a strikeout or walk. The 25-year-old lefthander, who made his first nine appearances this season in relief before going to Triple-A Sacramento, is 3-3 in seven outings since being inserted back into the rotation on July 22.

Mets 9, Astros 1 - Carlos Delgado hit a pair of three-run homers and Mike Pelfrey pitched his second straight complete game, leading host New York over Houston.

Jose Reyes also had a big night at the plate, and Pelfrey came within two outs of his first major league shutout. The six-hitter followed his first career complete game, when he allowed three hits in a 6-3 victory over Atlanta last Wednesday.

After splitting a four-game series with the Astros, New York now heads to Philadelphia today for a two-game set between the top teams in the NL East.

Delgado's homer in the first off Brian Moehler (9-5) barely cleared the wall in the left-field corner, but his drive off Wesley Wright in the seventh was sent emphatically over the 410-foot sign in center field.

Phillies 5, Dodgers 0 - Brett Myers tossed seven gritty innings, Jimmy Rollins had three hits and two RBIs, and host Philadelphia completed its first four-game sweep of Los Angeles in 23 years.

Philadelphia remained a half-game behind NL East-leading New York with its eighth victory in 10 games.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 2 - Jody Gerut hit a two-run homer off Jon Rauch in the bottom of the ninth inning, and San Diego snapped a seven-game losing streak.

The loss kept first-place Arizona three games ahead of Los Angeles in the NL West. Trevor Hoffman (2-6) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

Indians 4, Tigers 3 - Grady Sizemore homered twice to join the 30-30 club and Franklin Gutierrez hit a 10th-inning home run to help visiting Cleveland win its eighth straight.

Sizemore homered on the game's second pitch and became the second Indians player to have at least 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season. Joe Carter also accomplished the feat with Cleveland in 1987.

Rockies 4, Giants 2 - Jeff Francis got his first victory in more than two months, Yorvit Torrealba homered, and visiting Colorado won for the eighth time in 10 games.

Rangers 9, Royals 4 - Nelson Cruz had three hits including a three-run homer in his season debut, and visiting Texas beat Kansas City.

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