Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/15/12

MINNEAPOLIS - Jim Thome has always had a knack for hitting home runs in Minnesota. As an opponent at the Metrodome he was known to clear the fence with frustrating regularity. As a Twin for nearly two full seasons, he recorded the three longest homers in Target Field history.

On Thursday, Thome's second Target Field homer as an opponent was the difference as the Philadelphia Phillies took the rubber game of their series with the Minnesota Twins, winning 6-1.

Joe Blanton (6-6) gave up a second-inning home run, but allowed just seven hits in a complete game for the Phillies, who travel to Toronto for a three-game series this weekend. Blanton struck out Minnesota slugger Josh Willingham three times, as Willingham's 15-game hitting streak ended. It was the second complete game for Blanton this season, after he went the distance at Atlanta on May 3.

"Tonight's game should be a really big confidence booster for Joe," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He didn't run into that inning where he threw a whole lot of pitches and he had to pitch out of jams where they had somebody on base. They got some guys on, but he was never was in the big trouble."

For Minnesota, rookie Scott Diamond (5-2) settled down and was solid after surrendering homers to Ty Wigginton and Thome, but took the loss for the Twins, who next host Milwaukee in a three-game weekend series.

"I challenged a lot of guys and was able to mix it up a little bit," Diamond said. "If I was able to take those two pitches back, that would be a whole different ballgame. I just tried to work down and challenge hitters as much as I could."

Leading 4-1, the Phillies added two-out insurance runs in the eighth and ninth off of Twins relievers Lester Oliveros and Jeff Gray.

For Thome, 41, the biggest thing is answering critics who doubt his abilities as he reaches senior citizen status among active sluggers.

"There's always going to be people that doubt the age. That's part of it," he said. "To know you can work hard and have some success does mean a lot. Baseball's a weird game and you're going to go through some bad times. The bottom line is to get at-bats like this."

Wigginton started the scoring in the second inning, lifting an 0-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers to give the Phillies an early 1-0 lead. It was Wigginton's first hit versus the Twins in the series, after going 0-for-5 in his previous trips to the plate.

Trevor Plouffe tied things at 1-1 in the bottom of the second, hitting his third homer in as many games, and 12th of the season, to left.

But Diamond hit a snag in the third inning. Jimmy Rollins led off with a double, and went to third on Placido Polanco's groundout. After Hunter Pence walked, Thome hit a high arcing ball that landed in the flower bed, just in front of the first row of seats in right-center field. The three-run shot gave the Phillies a 4-1 lead, and gave Thome 24 homers at Target Field -- the most of any major-leaguer.

"Nothing he does surprises me. He's such an ox," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "I think he's having fun getting a chance to hit every day over here in the American League."

Notes: After he lasted just four batters on Wednesday and took the 9-8 loss, the Twins placed right-handed starter P.J. Walters on the 15-day disabled list Thursday due to right shoulder inflammation. He will be replaced by Oliveros, who has a 1-1 record with 22 strikeouts and two saves in relief for the Twins Class AAA affiliate in Rochester, N.Y. ... On Wednesday, Thome became the oldest player in Phillies history to record four RBIs in a game. . . .While Philadelphia's offense has been on a tear, opposing batters are swinging well versus the Phillies as well. In the 15 games since Roy Halladay was injured, Phillies starters have posted a 5.97 ERA. ... Joe Mauer's walk in the opening game of the Phillies series was the 500th of his career, making him just the seventh Twins player to get a free pass 500 times or more. The most recent was Chuck Knoblauch, who reached the milestone in 1997.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley


Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Kirk Cousins says he has ‘very good relationship’ with RG3

Super Bowl 50 ticket prices are insane

Take a moment to appreciate the greatness of Cam Newton

4-Star 2018 quarterback Matt Corral commits to USC

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker