He's probably too modest to do so, but the nicest man in baseball can now call himself Mr. 600. With a pair of opposite-field blasts, Jim Thome became the eighth man in baseball history with 600 home runs, a milestone 21 years in the making.
The gentle giant twice reached down and drove pitches to left field, and both floated into the bullpens to add to his tally. Fitting, that the man so often compared to Twins hero Harmon Killebrew should reach 600 with a pair of Killebrew-esque homers - fly balls that, somehow, just wouldn't come down.
The entire Twins dugout emptied to congratulate Thome on the field; his dad, wife, and two young children were also on hand to greet him at home plate. Recognizing the moment, the Detroit crowd also gave Thome a standing ovation, and a young fan in a Tigers jersey behind the Twins dugout waved a "Thome Is My Homie" sign. Such is fans' respect for the slugger; even though he's hit 65 home runs against the Tigers over the years, and even though he'd just put Detroit behind in the game, they couldn't help applauding him.
Congratulations, Jim Thome. Your Hall of Fame spot is secure.
Twins win 9-6 behind homers
Thome's two blasts drove in five runs, and both Trevor Plouffe and Justin Morneau had RBI doubles to help push the Twins to the victory. Francisco Liriano wasn't too good, giving up five runs in six innings, but Glen Perkins bailed the Twins out of a Alex Burnett-created mess in the seventh, and Joe Nathan closed down the game in the ninth to hand Liriano the victory.
If Thome's dingers didn't provide enough excitement, Ben Revere also provided one of the plays of the year. Revere hit a fly ball about 350 feet to right-center field, more than enough to clear both outfielders, who were playing at slow-pitch softball depth. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Revere wheeled around third to try to score, steamrolling catcher Alex Avila at the plate but failing to dislodge the ball.
Delmon Young homered, singled, and made a nice running grab of a Plouffe liner in left in his first game in Tiger blue. Burnett also hit him with a pitch in the seventh, though our hopes that Young would charge the bullpen to get at Jose Mijares in retaliation went unfulfilled. One would think that Tigers fans are currently excited about their new left fielder. Maybe it'll be a David Ortiz kind of thing, where all Young needs is a change of scenery - but right now, you'd have to bet that Tigers fans will have their early hopes dashed.