MINNEAPOLIS - Jim Thome homered twice to move past Mark McGwire for ninth place on baseball's all-time list and power the Twins over the Texas Rangers, 12-4, yesterday.

Thome went deep for the 583rd time in his career leading off the third inning, a shot to the second deck above rightfield estimated at 449 feet. Then with two on and two outs in the fourth, Thome's full-count drive into the bullpen behind left-center made it 9-0 and gave him No. 584.

Thome also drew a couple of walks, giving him 1,668 lifetime freebees. That moved him into ninth in that career category, too, passing Frank Thomas.

"He never ceases to amaze us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's just going up and whacking the ball. It's Babe Ruth all over again."

Next up on the homer list is Frank Robinson with 586.

After six straight one-run games, the Twins let loose against slumping starter Colby Lewis (9-12) and the AL West-leading Rangers. Minnesota gave Carl Pavano (16-10) plenty of support and kept its AL Central lead over Chicago at four games for the moment.

Earlier in the afternoon, the second-place White Sox beat Boston in the opener of their doubleheader.

At age 40, Thome now has 584 career home runs, continuing to hack away at that hallowed - even if steroid-tainted - leader board. As for the Babe, though, he's still 130 homers ahead.

"I don't think so," Thome said, when asked if he could catch Ruth for third. "I think I'll be fishing by then."

- AP

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