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Thomas' grand slam off Clemens opens rout

8/27/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- The long fly ball by Frank Thomas settled into
the glove of left fielder Dave Dellucci -- after it clanked high off
the foul pole, way up near the upper deck.

It was a huge grand slam for Thomas off Roger Clemens, and a big
win for the Chicago White against the New York Yankees.

Magglio Ordonez followed with another long home run off the
front of the center-field bleachers as the White Sox beat up the
Yankees 13-2 Tuesday night in a matchup of division leaders.

"It's very big," Thomas said. "Everybody's harping on how bad
we are on the road."

Ordonez and Paul Konerko homered twice, and Joe Crede also
connected for Chicago, which hit six homers in a game for the
second time this season.

Esteban Loaiza (17-6) had an outstanding cutter and improved to
6-1 since the All-Star break, tying Toronto's Roy Halladay for the
AL lead in wins. He allowed one hit in seven innings, struck out
nine and left with an 11-0 lead.

Clemens (12-8) made his 600th career start and had one of his
worst outings, tying his high by allowing nine runs. He gave up
four homers in a game for only the second time in his career.

His mother, Bess, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. She had
missed her son's 300th win in June because of emphysema and
pneumonia.

"It was great. They should have let her stay on the mound,"
Clemens said. "She had better stuff than I had."

Chicago, which has won seven of eight, maintained a one-game
lead over Kansas City in the AL Central, while New York stayed five
games in front of Boston in the AL East. The White Sox, who started
a six-game trip, are 43-23 at home but just 27-39 on the road.

As rap music boomed in the clubhouse, the White Sox talked about
the significance of winning the series opener at the team with the
best record in the American League.

"This was huge for us," manager Jerry Manuel said.

Before the game, he jokingly begged his players to think they
were back in the Windy City.

"I got some home beds for you -- whatever you need," he said.

In the first meeting between the teams this season, Clemens
struck out three of his first five batters. The White Sox then
built a 3-0 lead on solo homers by Konerko in the second and Crede
in the third, and Konerko's RBI double in the fourth.

Nothing worked for Clemens. Not his fastball, not his slider,
not his splitter.

"He was too fat on the plate," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Miguel Olivo hit a run-scoring triple in the fifth, and Clemens
walked Roberto Alomar and Carlos Lee, bringing up Thomas. With the
count 1-0, Thomas hit his eighth slam, his first since Sept. 11,
2000, against Detroit.

It was the 35th homer of the season for the resurgent Thomas.

"If he continues to do what he's doing, he has a chance to be
MVP if this team continues to roll like it is," Manuel said. "He
has to be considered -- strongly considered."

Ordonez then took a first-pitch ball and nearly put the next
pitch into the black section of the bleachers.

"There were some hard-hit balls in there," Manuel said.

Loaiza, meanwhile, pitched what he thought was his best game of
the season, freezing left-handed batters with pitches on the
outside of the plate. Four of his strikeouts were called.

"I wanted to go out there and pitch the eighth and ninth,"
said Loaiza, who came out after 119 pitches.

New York's only hit off him was a two-out single to left in the
second inning by Karim Garcia. Derek Jeter hit a two-run single in
the eighth off Scott Schoeneweis and the Yankees finished with five
hits in all.

"This one," Torre said, "you could put away early."

Game notes
In his first game in New York since the Mets traded him on
July 1, Alomar was booed repeatedly. He went 0-for-3 with a walk.
... Konerko had three hits and four RBI in the sixth multihomer
game of his career, his first since June 28 last year against the
Chicago Cubs. He had been in a 3-for-26 slide. ... Felix Heredia
and Gabe White made their Yankees' debuts. White hit his first
batter, Carl Everett, then allowed a two-run homer to Konerko. To
make room, the Yankees optioned RHP Jeff Weaver to Class A Tampa of
the Florida State League and designated 46-year-old LHP Jesse
Orosco for assignment. New York has used 18 relievers this season.
... The White Sox sent INF Tim Hummel to Cincinnati, completing
Thursday's deal that brought Scott Sullivan to Chicago. ... Ordonez
had his 16th multihomer game, his third this season. ... Chicago
also had six homers July 30 at Kansas City. ... New York 2B Alfonso
Soriano jammed his right thumb.