I really, really love Frank Thomas. The A's won this game on the shoulders of Frank Thomas. And I won't speculate that Big Hurt was motivated a bit by Cuddyer trying to throw him out at first when he singled to right. You could see Hurt's annoyance all over his face.
In the past, a gaffe like Bradley's in the ninth might've cost the A's, but the A's have never had a player like Frank Thomas.
But it didn't. Zito went eight strong innings and was helped by the Twins being really aggressive. It wasn't like he was missing bats (only one strikeout in eight innings). I still think it was a mistake leaving Zito out there for the eighth inning unless Duchscherer wasn't 100 percent healthy. I mean you have one of the best bullpens in the majors, why not take advantage of it? To me, that was a managerial mistake that the A's survived. The good news is that the A's were able to work through it.
So the A's now won game one against the best pitcher in baseball. Zito was good and worked through a game in which he didn't have his best stuff. The Twins didn't look like an experienced team, especially Bartlett who had an error and had a baserunning mistake.
The lingering question I have is, should the Twins have pitched to Frank Thomas? Especially in the ninth like that with no one on base? If I'm the manager, I might take my chances with the rest of the A's order today who largely looked clueless (especially Chavez and Kendall). Well, everyone except Scoot who also doubled home a huge run. I think both the managers made mistakes today. Yes, you pitch to Thomas with Santana, but I think you give him the old unintentional intentional if you need to.
The series now sets up very nicely, and the luxury the A's have is that even if Loaiza can't get something done tomorrow, the A's then have Haren and Harden looming large in Oakland.
The A's have been here before. 1-0 should be a big advantage especially with the Santana game out of the way. We'll see if 2006 truly is a different team than in seasons past.