Carlos Lee always wanted to be like Frank.
Now the White Sox's new No. 3 hitter is hitting like Frank Thomas used to hit.
Lee had four hits, including two home runs, in a 6-4 victory over Detroit on Sunday at Comerica Park. Thomas, in a 1-for-31 slump, was given the day off, but he was right there in the dugout to congratulate Lee after the second homer.
Lee's performance helped the Sox end a three-game losing streak and improve starter Jon Garland's record to 8-6. Garland went seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out four.
"All my career through the minor leagues, I wore No. 35 because I wanted to be like Frank Thomas," Lee said. "I still want to be like Frank. This year he's not hitting. But he's going to go out there and he's going to carry this team for the last months of this season."
Lee singled in the first inning after Ray Durham tripled and scored on a wild pitch by Adam Bernero (2-5). The Tigers tied the score on an RBI single by Bobby Higginson in the bottom of the first.
With two outs in the third, Lee hit his 14th homer of the season. He added his 15th homer on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth. The Tigers rallied for three runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead, but Jose Valentin came through for the Sox with a two-run triple in the three-run eighth inning. Antonio Osuna earned his fifth save with a scoreless ninth.
Lee said his approach to hitting, not his slot in the batting order, is making the difference.
"I'm taking pitches," he said. "I'm not in a rush out there, and I'm getting a good one to hit. I find myself ahead in the count pretty much all the time. When you're ahead in the count, you'll see good pitches."
Lee finished the five-game series 12-for-20 and improved his average to .273. He has reached base safely in 27 of his last 30 games and is hitting .327 (36-for-110) over that stretch.
Thomas could pick up pointers from Lee, who is 7-for-8 since assuming Thomas' spot in the batting order.
"Frank was the greatest and I feel he still is," Lee said. "When you're a great hitter, a natural hitter, you don't forget. Anybody can go through a slump."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun