OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - These days, Jim Thome practically moves up the career charts every time he steps into the batter's box. He's more concerned with helping Minnesota get back into the division race.
Thome hit his 597th home run and caught Tony Perez on the RBI list but Coco Crisp keyed Oakland's offense in a 7-3 victory over the Twins on Sunday.
``He's been swinging good for us,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``It's fun to see him hit another home run. He's getting real close to that big 600 number.'
With two outs and the bases empty in the third, Thome drilled Brandon McCarthy's 1-0 pitch over the wall in left-center. His eighth homer of the season gave him 1,652 career RBIs, matching Perez for 27th on the all-time list.
``It's very humbling when you mention Tony Perez or any name like that from the past who has had a great career,' said Thome, who finished with three hits. ``To be part of that is very special for sure.'
His teammates are enjoying the chase as much as Thome.
``I'm so excited for him that he's getting closer to that milestone,' Twins pitcher Carl Pavano said. ``We can all be part of it and hopefully we can mix in a few wins and make everybody happy.'
Thome has put together three consecutive multihit games for the first time since Aug. 28-30, 2007, for the Chicago White Sox at Texas.
``It's getting better,' he said. ``I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable in there. I just try to have good at_bats.'
Thome is batting .480 (12 for 25) during a seven-game hitting streak.
Crisp had two hits and three stolen bases in support of McCarthy (4-5), who struck out a career-high nine in six effective innings as the A's won for the fifth time in seven games.
Joe Mauer had three hits and an RBI for the Twins, who have lost three of four. Danny Valencia had two hits and an RBI.
McCarthy allowed three runs and eight hits. He did not walk a batter while improving to 3-0 with a 3.70 ERA in his last four starts.
Pavano (6-8) lasted four innings, giving up seven runs and nine hits. He is winless in four starts since the All-Star break.
``Carl just couldn't get them out,' Gardenhire said. ``They had the one inning where the ball was rolling everywhere and he didn't do very well in the running game. He wasn't paying enough attention to that and they ran all over him.'
The A's scored six runs on seven consecutive hits in the third to erase a 3-0 deficit. Ryan Sweeney's two-run double highlighted the outburst.
``That one inning they were running around a lot,' Pavano said. ``I did a terrible job. I took the air out of the team after they gave me a 3-0 lead.'
Pavano got Scott Sizemore on a grounder to start the inning before Jemile Weeks doubled to spark the rally. Crisp, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson and Cliff Pennington, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games, also drove in runs.
Ben Revere tripled on the second pitch of the game and scored when Mauer grounded out. Valencia added an RBI single to give the Twins a 2-0 edge in the first.
``It looked like we were a hit away from getting to McCarthy,' Gardenhire said. ``We didn't get the big hit and he got into a nice rhythm and shut us down.'
NOTES: Thome has hit 31 home runs against the A's. ... Twins OF Michael Cuddyer has a seven-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 24 of his last 29 games overall. ... A's OF David DeJesus (sore right thumb) entered as a defensive replacement when Sweeney was thrown out of the game by plate umpire Dan Bellino in the seventh. It was Sweeney's first career ejection. ... LHP Jordan Norberto will join the A's in Seattle on Monday. ... The A's entered as the only team in the majors without a win against Pavano. ... Valencia has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 games.
The Associated Press News Service
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