Thome's walk-off HR leads Sox to big win in the 15th

Jim Thome homered in the 15th inning to pass Mickey Mantle on the career list and give the Chicago White Sox a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels that extended their AL Central lead Saturday night.

Thome's 537th home run came off Justin Speier (1-8) and put him in sole possession of 14th place. The White Sox moved 2½ games in front of second-place Minnesota with their third consecutive victory and second in a row over the Angels in this showdown of division leaders.

The White Sox have their biggest lead since a three-game cushion on July 26. And they won again without slugger Carlos Quentin, who is scheduled for surgery Monday on his broken right wrist and could miss the rest of the season.

Angels ace John Lackey failed to protect a 5-2 lead and Francisco Rodriguez blew a 6-5 advantage in the ninth after Brandon Wood homered in the top half against Bobby Jenks.

Thome drove an 0-1 pitch well beyond the right-field wall with one out in the 15th for his 30th homer this season. It was his 11th career game-ending homer and the fifth for the White Sox this year -- a dramatic end to a wild game.

Ehren Wassermann (1-1) struck out his only batter -- Vladimir Guerrero -- to earn the win.

Speier, pitching in his fourth straight game, came in after Jason Bulger struck out a career-high five in three perfect innings following his call-up from Triple-A earlier in the day.

Jermaine Dye grounded out before Thome finally ended it, getting mobbed by his teammates after the winning shot. It's the 12th time he's hit 30 or more homers in a season.

Chone Figgins hit his first homer in more than a year for the AL West leaders. Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli added back-to-back shots off Gavin Floyd in the sixth, but Lackey let the lead slip away. Paul Konerko hit a solo homer in the bottom half and Nick Swisher tied it at 5 with a two-run drive in the seventh.

After Wood put the Angels ahead, Rodriguez blew his sixth save in 60 chances when pinch-hitter DeWayne Wise delivered a sacrifice fly. Rodriguez remained three saves shy of Bobby Thigpen's major league record of 57 set in 1990 for the White Sox.

Pinch-runner Jerry Owens was thrown out by Guerrero when he tried to advance to second on Wise's sacrifice fly to right. Orlando Cabrera then flied out, sending the game to extra innings.

Chicago had runners on first and third with none out against Scot Shields in the 10th, but a base running blunder by A.J. Pierzynski and a nice catch by center fielder Torii Hunter preserved the tie.

Jenks left after the 10th. Mike MacDougal and Matt Thornton combined for four scoreless innings for Chicago.

Lackey and Floyd each lasted seven innings and struck out four while walking two. Lackey allowed nine hits to Floyd's seven, and the long ball bit both pitchers.


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