Jim Thome hit his 511th career home run and Javier Vazquez won his third consecutive start to lead the Chicago White Sox past the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-2 on Friday. Thome connected in the third inning for a three-run shot off rookie Jeff Niemann, who was making his second career start. The next batter, Paul Konerko, homered to make it 4-0.
The White Sox designated hitter tied Hall of Famer Mel Ott for 21st place all-time with his fourth homer of the season, which hit an overhanging catwalk. Thome has reached base safely in all 26 games he has played at Tropicana Field. Vazquez (3-1) gave up two runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out out four, walking one.