Thome blast fires surging Twins past White Sox

MINNEALOPIS, Minnesota (Reuters) - Jim Thome smacked a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th to maintain Minnesota's charge clear of the Chicago White Sox with a 7-6 victory over their divisional rivals on Tuesday.

Minnesota had trailed 6-5 in the 10th before Delmon Young led off with a single and veteran slugger Thome went deep off reliever Matt Thornton for the game-winner.

Thome's blast came against his former team, having spent parts of the last four seasons with the White Sox, and was also the 581st of his career.

"Thome told people that he was going to do something here, so he did it," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire told the Minnesota Star Tribune. "We're excited he's on our team."

However, Chicago could not hold the lead as their bullpen continued to struggle without regular closer Bobby Jenks, who is sidelined with a back injury.

The White Sox have lost three straight and four of five while the Twins have taken off.

Building a 23-7 record over their last 30 games, Minnesota is the hottest team in baseball and carried that confidence into a big early lead.

The red-hot club scored four times in the first inning against Chicago but the visitors answered with three runs in the third before tying the contest 4-4 in the fourth.

Young put the Twins back on top with solo homer in the fifth and finished 3-for-5 at the plate, as did Thome.

"What a great game," Thome said. "For me, it might go down as one of the better games I've played in."

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)