- Associated Press - Monday, August 15, 2011

DETROIT (AP) - Minnesota slugger Jim Thome become the eighth player to hit 600 home runs, connecting twice against the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

The 40-year-old Thome hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning for No. 599, then added a three-run shot in the seventh. The milestone came on a 2-1 pitch from Daniel Schlereth.

Both homers were hit to the opposite field. When No. 600 cleared the fence in left, Thome raised his right fist as he went around first base, and the crowd in Detroit came to its feet to applaud him.

Thome became the second-fastest hitter to reach the milestone, hitting his 600th homer in at-bat No. 8,137. Babe Ruth needed only 6,921 at-bats.

His 65 home runs against Detroit are his most against any team.

The Tigers posted a congratulatory message on the scoreboard after Thome’s homer, and the Twins came out to greet him at home plate.

Fighting injuries during a frustrating season in Minnesota, Thome hasn’t received nearly the amount of national publicity that his predecessors who reached the milestone did. Even Derek Jeter’s accomplishment of 3,000 hits earlier this season dwarfed the attention Thome has been getting for a chase that’s far more rare.

Only seven hitters have hit more home runs than the bulky Thome: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa. Rodriguez joined the 600-homer club last August.

It was perhaps fitting that Thome reached No. 600 in a matchup of AL Central rivals. He hit 334 home runs with Cleveland and 134 with the Chicago White Sox.

Thome is the oldest person to hit his 600th homer. Sosa previously held that mark at 38 years, 220 days. He reached the milestone in 2007.