Thome hits 400th homer

Jim Thome wasted little time hitting his 400th homer. It just took him a lot longer than expected to celebrate.
While Ken Griffey Jr. decided to wait at least another day to try for a milestone homer, Thome hit his 400th in his first at-bat to help the Philadelphia Phillies to a 10-7 win over Cincinnati last night—the Reds seventh-straight loss.
“It was kind of a wild night, but what an awesome feeling,” Thome said. “It was great.”
The game was stopped three times by rain, with delays totalling 3 hours, 54 minutes, and ended at 2:06 a.m. today. The game was called with Billy Wagner taking warm-up tosses in the ninth.
Ryan Madson (4-1) earned the win and John Riedling (4-1) lost—both in relief. The Phillies used seven pitchers; the Reds six. There were 13 hits by each team.
Just a little past 2:30 a.m., Thome still was feeling an adrenaline rush. He finally enjoyed a toast with his teammates, but still had to call his parents who he said were waiting up back home in Illinois.
A smattering of fans got soaked as they hung out near the dugouts during the final delay. Stadium workers draped in ponchos already were cleaning the aisles before the game was called.
It was an odd ending to a night that started with plenty of buzz over the chance for Thome and Griffey to both get milestone homers. Griffey, however, was out of the lineup—giving him a better chance to hit his 500th home run at home in Cincinnati.
The sellout crowd of 44,710—the largest ever at Philadelphia’s new ballpark—booed when they heard Ryan Freel introduced as Cincinnati’s starting center fielder. Their disappointment didn’t last long.
Flashbulbs popped all over the park on every pitch as Thome dug in against starter Jose Acevedo. Fans gasped on several foul balls, thinking each swing would be the one.
Thome battled back from an 0-2 count to get it to 3-2, then crushed a two-run blast in the first inning to become the 37th player to join the 400 club.
Thome pumped his right fist as he rounded first base and pointed to the crowd. He was mobbed by teammates when he reached home plate.
The fans gave Thome a standing ovation and he emerged from the dugout for a curtain call shortly before Pat Burrell followed with a solo shot.
“I was hoping to do it here,” Thome said. “I think it was great how the fans have treated me here.”
Thome’s wife, Andrea, jumped up and down in a luxury box while holding daughter, Lila Grace.
“Hopefully you’ll see the 500th and 600th in a Phillies uniform,” manager Larry Bowa said.
Meanwhile, Griffey never took a crack at becoming the 20th player to hit 500 homers. He had played in 36 games in a row going into last night and his health wasn’t going to be risked with rain in the forecast.
In other action yesterday, Cleveland bombed Baltimore 14-0 and the Chicago Cubs beat Houston 7-2.