White Sox hit four straight taters in sixth
Thome, Konerko, Ramirez, Uribe achieve rare feat for Chicago
CHICAGO -- Toby Hall has one home run over his two seasons with the White Sox. So, the possibility of the backup catcher going deep at this point has been greatly reduced from the past years, when he flashed some power as an everyday player for Tampa Bay.
Yet, there was Hall swinging for the fences in the sixth inning of Thursday's 9-2 shellacking of the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field, trying to make Major League Baseball history. Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe already had gone back-to-back-to-back-to-back, so it was up to Hall to place the White Sox as the first team to hit five straight home runs.
Hall came up short, striking out swinging against Robinson Tejeda. But Hall's inning-ending whiff didn't lessen the excitement brought about by this first in the storied history of the White Sox franchise.
"I don't know if it's special. It's more of a quirky thing," said Konerko, whose 12th home run was second in this run of four. "You see a lot of special things, whether it's a guy hitting his 500th home run or something like that. This was more like [something] you probably won't see it again. You might see it once if you play the game for 10 or 15 years. You don't know when it's going to happen. You enjoy it after the fact."
"It's an honor for me, for the team being here that long, just to be part of it," added Ramirez, through translator Ozzie Guillen Jr.
Thome started the barrage with a 392-foot shot off reliever Joel Peralta, his three-run homer landing in the right-center-field bleachers with two outs. At that moment, it looked as if all Thome had done through home run No. 25 was give the White Sox bullpen a little breathing room and move within two home runs of Jimmie Foxx for 15th on the all-time list. Thome currently sits at 532.
Konerko hit the next pitch from Peralta just fair down the left-field line, and Ramirez chipped in his 12th on a 1-2 offering from the right-hander. That blast mercifully ended Peralta's afternoon.
"Every time we face Peralta, we can't even touch him," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen with a smile. "It's about time we do something to Peralta. I've never seen that before."
"The first two, you don't feel it," Peralta added. "The third one is the one you start feeling -- it's three in a row. [That is] the first time it's happened to me. It's not a good feeling, especially with me pitching good lately and with one game destroying everything I've done the last whole week."
FOUR IN A ROW
|On Thursday, the White Sox became one of six teams to belt four consecutive home runs in an inning:|
|White Sox||Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Juan Uribe|
|Red Sox||Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek|
|Dodgers||Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, Marlon Anderson|
|Twins||Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall|
|Indians||Woody Held, Pedro Ramos, Tito Francona, Larry Brown|
|Braves||Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, Frank Thomas|
Tejeda replaced Peralta, only to have Uribe deliver what Konerko termed as the toughest of the four home runs because it came off of a new pitcher. Uribe's drive came on a 1-2 pitch, traveling 347 feet, and ending a streak for the third baseman of 107 consecutive at-bats without going deep.
"I didn't know the home run I hit made history," said Uribe, through translator and reliever Octavio Dotel. "I feel real good to be part of that record."
"When something's going bad like that, we just want to jump in and finish it up," Tejeda added. "That's what was in my mind."
This long-ball barrage marked the fifth time the White Sox hit four home runs in an inning, and first since Aug. 27, 2007. A.J. Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye and Uribe went back-to-back-to-back against the Rays' Edwin Jackson, and Josh Fields added the fourth off of Dan Wheeler during a five-run seventh-inning rally at home.
Hitting four straight home runs in an inning has been accomplished on six occasions, with the last being done by Boston's Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek against New York's Chase Wright on April 22, 2007.
One of those other previous five moments came with Hall on the bench as part of the Dodgers on Sept. 18, 2006, when Jeff Kent and Drew homered off of San Diego's Jon Adkins to start a ninth-inning comeback, and Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson launched the first two pitches from Trevor Hoffman. On Thursday, Hall came up short in making the White Sox the first to hit five.
"We were rooting for Toby," Thome said. "We kind of exploded."
"Yeah, I'm part of history now," Hall added. "I told Uribe, 'You've got to go hit a home run.' I said, 'No pressure.' Then he goes out and does it."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.