UPDATE: Jim Thome has done it!
Thome just launched an opposite field three-run blast off left-hander Daniel Schlereth in the top of the seventh inning to reach the 600-home run plateau. The veteran slugger was greeted at home plate by his teammates and hugged his family on the field before returning to the dugout.
Thome has two home runs and five RBI tonight. This is his 48th career multi-home run game.
While his chase has largely flown under the radar, Thome is now in the same exclusive club with Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Pretty special.
9:00 PM: Jim Thome is on the brink of history.
Thome launched career homer No. 599 in the top of the sixth inning tonight against the Tigers. It was a two-run shot to left-center field off right-hander Rick Porcello which gave the Twins a 5-3 lead. It was his 10th home run of the season and traveled an estimated 412 feet.
Thome, 40, is now just one home run away from being just the eighth player in major league history to reach 600 home runs. Alex Rodriguez was the most recent player to reach the milestone last August.
He should get another chance to bat in the seventh or eighth inning, so stay tuned to see if he can get there.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.