PHILADELPHIA, June 23 (UPI) -- Jim Thome
blasted a pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, handing Philadelphia a 7-6 interleague victory over Tampa Bay.
Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon (2-2) had blown a 6-4 lead in the top the ninth when Tampa Bay's Jeff Keppinger and Brooks Conrad each delivered run-scoring singles.
But the Phillies came back in the next-half inning. Thome batted for Papelbon to lead off the frame and crushed a pitch from Jake McGee (2-2) into the left field stands, giving Philadelphia a win in the opener of a three-game, rain-delayed set.
Thome's clout was the 609th of his career, tying him with Sammy Sosa at No. 7 on baseball's all-time home run list. It was also the 13th walk-off game-winner for Thome, most in MLB history.
Juan Pierre went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and Jimmy Rollins added a two-run shot for the Phillies, who moved out of the basement of the National League East with the victory.
Keppinger finished 5-for-5 with three RBI for the Rays, who dropped their third straight.
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