Jim Thome has hit 609 career home runs, but the walk-off blast to win Saturday’s 7-6 triumph over the Tampa Bay Rays will provide the future Hall of Famer a lasting memory.
What was so impressive is that Rays pitcher Jake McGee was simply throwing gas and early in the count, Thome was just hanging in there.
“It seemed like he was throwing 95 plus,” Thome said.
He has a good eye.
Here is the pitch sequence courtesy of MLB.com
1. Ball 96 MHP fastball
2. Called strike 89 slider
3. Strike 97 four-seam fastball
4. Ball 98 four-seam fastball
5. Foul 96 four seam fastball
6. Ball 97 four-seam fastball
7. Foul 96 four-seam fastball
8. Home Run 97 four-seam fastball
Thome talked about the importance of seeing so many pitches in the at-bat.
“It was important, yes,” Thome said. “As the at-bat gets deep I am sure he didn’t want to walk me and put me on and I was fortunate to get a hit.”
Thome has done extra hitting in preparing for his pinch-hitting role now that the interleague games in A.L. parks have concluded.
It paid off and Thome hopes that this is a sign of things to come for the Phillies
“We battled back and this was a big win for us,” he said. “Hopefully we can build from this and get going and start playing some good baseball.”