Thome ties Mantle with 536th home run

Jim Thome hit a two-run shot in the first inning to match Mickey Mantle for 14th place with 536 career homers, and the Chicago White Sox beat the host Boston Red Sox 4-2 on Sunday.

"To tie Mickey Mantle, you're speechless. What do you say?" Thome said. "It's really hard to talk about because when you throw Mickey Mantle's name around, that's probably one of the greatest home run hitters of all time."

Thome is 11 home runs behind Alex Rodriguez for 13th on the all-time list. A-Rod also homered on Sunday, moving within one of Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt for 12th place.

"Every home run he hits is a milestone," Chicago Manager Ozzie Guillen said of Thome. "But I think he's worried more about us winning than his milestones."

Thome, who turns 37 on Sept. 4, needed 7,256 at-bats to match a home run total Mantle achieved in 8,102. A-Rod's 547 home runs have come in 7,781 at-bats.

Kent faces knee surgery

■ Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent will undergo surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee on Tuesday. The 40-year-old Kent can begin rehabilitation soon after the operation and might return by the end of the season, Manager Joe Torre said.

"We'll see what happens," said Torre, whose team is 21/2 games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West. "I know one thing: if there's a chance he'll come back, he's going to come back."

General Manager Ned Colletti said the club will place Kent on the 15-day DL and recall infielder Chin-lung Hu from Triple-A Las Vegas. Kent is batting .275 with 11 homers and 57 RBI.

Diamondbacks acquire Eckstein

David Eckstein was traded from the Blue Jays to the Diamondbacks on Sunday, giving the NL West leaders a late-season spark plug with two World Series rings. Eckstein batted .277 with a homer and 23 RBI for Toronto. The Diamondbacks sent minor-league right-hander Chad Beck to the Blue Jays.

Short hops

■ The Reds optioned right-hander Ramon Ramirez to Single-A Sarasota on Sunday, less than a day after he been called up and made his major-league debut with seven effective innings against San Francisco. The Reds recalled utility player Wilkin Castillo from Triple-A Louisville.

■ Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano was scratched from his start Sunday to give him some time to rest his tired arm. Zambrano is 1-1 over his last five starts and twice failed to get out of the fifth inning. Sean Marshall subbed for him and took the loss against the Phillies.

■ Houston's Hunter Pence, a former Lexington Legends standout, threw out Albert Pujols at second for his 15th outfield assist this season, moving him into the league lead.

■ The Red Sox optioned Michael Bowden to Triple-A Pawtucket one day after he won his major-league debut and recalled outfielder Jonathan Van Every from their top farm club Sunday. Van Every has 26 homers, 70 RBI and a .263 batting average in 119 games with Pawtucket.