TORONTO — After an exhaustive search, Jim Thome's 607th home run ball was found.
Thome's three-run homer Thursday landed in a flower bed in front of the right-field stands at Target Field and was feared lost. For a few innings, fans dug for the ball but could not find it.
A postgame search party of eight Twins employees failed to locate the ball, according to the Star Tribune. They removed the flowers and even strapped a harness to one worker, but the ball was nowhere to be seen.
But Friday morning, a Twins official Tweeted the ball was discovered and will be sent to Thome. Since nearing 500 home runs in 2007, the slugger has collected as many home-run balls as he can.
"They're tucked away for the kids," Thome said.
Thome has another memento from his stellar series in Minnesota — the ball he crushed over the center-field batter's eye Wednesday. A fan threw that one back onto the field and Thome procured it.
He hit it so far, it almost bounced into a popular concession stand. "It had a walleye stick on it or something," Thome said.
"I'm joking about the walleye stick," Thome said, in true Thome form. "But that's where they sell walleyes up there."
Thome's nine RBIs against Minnesota were the most the future Hall of Famer has ever had in a three-game series. A six-game stretch as designated hitter has rejuvenated his bat.
"Nothing he does surprises me," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters after the game. "He's such an ox. As a matter of fact, a blue ox."
And this is a tall tale he can add to a career of them.
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