Blue Jays' Thomas Reaches 500th Homerun Mark

Friday, June 29th 2007, 7:35 am
By: News On 6

Frank Thomas hit one out of the park for the 500th time. Eight innings later, he was sent out of the park himself.

Thomas hit a three-run shot in the first inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, becoming the 21st major leaguer to reach 500. In the ninth, Thomas was ejected by plate umpire Mark Wegner after being called out on strikes for the second time in the game. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to argue and also got tossed.

``I'm probably the first to get 500 home runs and get thrown out of the ballgame,'' said Thomas, who also had a run-scoring double and tied his season high with four RBIs. ``That's something I didn't want to happen, but the moment just got the best of me.''

Torii Hunter homered twice and Jason Bartlett also connected for Minnesota, which rallied from a 5-1 deficit.

``You can't upstage 500 home runs. It's hard to do. I'll be lucky if I hit 300,'' said Hunter, who has 181 career homers.

Carlos Silva (6-8), who gave up Thomas' milestone homer, was the winner and Joe Nathan finished for his 15th save. Jason Frasor (1-3) took the loss.

Thomas came up after Matt Stairs' RBI single in the first and sent Silva's 1-2 pitch an estimated 396 feet into the left-field stands. Todd Eisenlohr, sitting in the fifth row and wearing a jersey of Twins player Jason Bartlett jersey, caught the ball in his glove.

``I lost it in the roof as it was coming down,'' Eisenlohr said. He said he traded the souvenir ball for an autographed ball, bat and jersey.

Thomas said he plans to keep the ball unless it is wanted by the Hall of Fame.

In other AL games on Thursday, it was: Cleveland 4, Oakland 3; Detroit 5, Texas 2; and Chicago 5, Tampa Bay 1. The Yankees were leading Baltimore 8-6 when their game was suspended by rain in the top of the eighth inning.

The Metrodome crowd responded to Thomas' milestone homer with a standing ovation. The two-time AL MVP put his head down for his home run trot and then pointed toward his family down the right-field line when he crossed the plate as Toronto players spilled out of the dugout to congratulate him.

Next on Thomas' ascent on the career home run list are Eddie Murray (504), Mel Ott (511) and Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews (512 each). Also within reach of 500 this year are Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez.

``Now that I'm healthy again I would love to get to 600,'' Thomas said. ``It'll take a lot of luck to get there, but I really got to have a strong second half and really prove that I can still play this game.''

Tigers 5, Rangers 2

Kenny Rogers (2-0) allowed one run over six innings in his first home start since shoulder surgery, helping host Detroit stop a two-game losing streak and remain a half-game ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central.

Todd Jones worked a perfect ninth for his 19th save.

Kevin Millwood (4-7) gave up three runs, five hits and six walks in six innings for Texas.

Indians 4, Athletics 3

Jason Michaels hit a three-run homer off Ron Flores (0-2) in the seventh inning as Cleveland sent visiting Oakland to its sixth loss in seven games.

The A's put runners on second and third with one out in the ninth, but Shannon Stewart popped out and Mark Kotsay flied out against Joe Borowski for his 22nd save in 24 chances.

Paul Byrd (7-3) allowed three runs in seven innings for the Indians.

White Sox 5, Devil Rays 1

Javier Vazquez (4-5) allowed one run in seven innings, Paul Konerko hit a pair of solo homers and visiting Chicago completed a four-game sweep.

Scott Kazmir (5-4) continued a season-long problem of high pitch counts, throwing 114 in 5 1-3 innings. He allowed four runs and six hits, and ran his winless streak at home to 14 starts.

Yankees 8, Orioles 6, Susp., 7 innings, rain

The New York Yankees got out of Baltimore without another loss _ but not a victory, either.

New York was leading 8-6 in the top of the eighth when play was halted. The game will be resumed on July 27, at the point it was stopped.

Derek Jeter singled in the go-ahead runs in the eighth inning just before a driving rain halted play. The Yankees left for home after a disheartening 1-7 road trip.