Thome hits longest HR at Target Field in 5-4 win over Royals
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Thanks in large part to a cartoonish moonshot off the bat of Jim Thome, the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Monday.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Thome hit a home run to right field off Kansas City starter Sean O-Sullivan that might never have landed if not for hitting the top of the tallest flagpole at Target Field -- an American flagpole, which was fitting on Labor Day.
Thome's blast -- which put the Twins up 5-2 at the time -- was measured at an estimated 480 feet, which is by far the longest home run hit in the stadium's brief history.
"I was kind of in the middle," Thome said when asked if he was sitting on a certain pitch. "I was in the middle of him throwing a fastball and a changeup. He threw a changeup, and I was fortunate to square it up. It felt very good. It feels very good when you square one up like that."
Thome's teammates went crazy in the dugout after the mammoth blast.
"That was amazing," starting pitcher Kevin Slowey said. "That's one of the furthest balls I've ever seen hit in person. That was incredible.
"We've all seen home runs, we've all seen some long home runs, but that was exceptional."
According to HitTrackerOnline.com, a website that uses angle, elevation, speed and other factors to determine the "true" distance of home runs, Brennan Boesch has the second-longest home run at Target Field -- a 448-foot blast to right field on May 4. Corey Hart's 440-foot blast to the left-field upper deck on May 23 ranks third, according to the website.
HitTrackerOnline lists Thome's estimated 449-foot homer on September 4 as a 422-foot shot, and his home run on August 17 as traveling 420 feet.
Slowey, making his first start since being placed on the disabled list on August 21 with a sore triceps, allowed two earned runs on seven hits and a walk in four innings.
The Royals jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning courtesy of an RBI groundout by Brayan Pena and an RBI double by Chris Getz.
That's when the boomsticks came out.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Jason Kubel drove an O'Sullivan fastball into the bullpen for a two-run bomb, putting the Twins up 4-2. Two batters later, Thome hit his aforementioned blast, making the score 5-2.
The Royals added two runs in the top of the sixth off Jeff Manship, who threw two innings in relief of Slowey, but that's all they would manage.
LHP Francisco Liriano (12-7, 3.27) is scheduled to face RHP Brian Bannister (7-11, 5.95) on Tuesday. Listen live on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.