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Thomas will try to lead A's to second straight win vs. Twins

Oct 4, 2006 - 1:59 PM Oakland at Minnesota 1:09 pm EDT American League Division Series A's lead, 1-0

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- A change of scenery has done a world of good for slugger Frank Thomas. The Oakland Athletics are thrilled with the results.

After belting his first postseason homers in 13 years on Tuesday, Thomas looks for more Wednesday when the Oakland Athletics face the Minnesota Twins in Game Two of the American League Division Series.

Limited to just 34 games in an injury-plagued campaign with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, Thomas did not see any postseason action while his team won its first World Series title since 1917.

The "Big Hurt" revived his career with Oakland this year, belting 39 homers and driving in 114 runs. He finished the regular season in 23rd place on the all-time list with 487 career home runs.

Thomas belted two homers - the first one against Twins ace Johan Santana in the second inning - and Marco Scutaro added an RBI double as the Athletics stunned Minnesota with a 3-2 triumph in Game One.

"All 30 teams could have had him," Athletics manager Ken Macha said. "We signed him for a minimum contract. If you are going to win something, you better have an impact bat in the lineup, and that guy has definitely provided it for us."

Another player that very few teams wanted in the offseason, Esteban Loaiza (11-9, 4.89 ERA) got off to a dismal start this year, losing all three decisions in April, including a defeat against the Twins on April 12. However, he went 7-2 in August and September to bring his record above .500.

After Santana's losing effort, Minnesota looks for better things from rookie Boof Bonser (7-6, 4.22), who was 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in September. He took the loss in his only appearance against the Athletics on June 1.

"(Bonser) knows what he has to do," Santana said. "He knows what it takes to win games. Especially in the situation where we are right now where we need to win. He'll come out (Wednesday) and hopefully pick us up and win the game."

Game Three will be played Friday in Oakland.

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