Jim Thome’s monstrous three-run homer yesterday was the 596th of his Hall of Fame career and the Twins measured it at 490 feet, which would be the longest homer in the brief history of Target Field and the longest homer hit by anyone in the majors this season.
Oh, and it also turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 win for the Twins, who’re suddenly just five games back in the AL Central despite starting the season 17-37.
My favorite part of Thome’s homer may have been Delmon Young’s reaction to it from the on-deck circle, which is the perfect facial representation of “daaaaaaaamn.”
Thome needs four more homers to become the eighth player in MLB history to reach 600, joining Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa. Thome is basically a part-time player at age 40, so in order for him to move above No. 8 on the list and pass Sosa with 609 he’d have to return for a 22nd season in 2012. As a Twins fan I’d certainly love to see him back, as his .965 OPS is the highest in team history among all hitters with 150 or more games.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.