Oakland A's Notes: Thomas Movin' On Up

Throughout this amazing comeback season by Frank Thomas, he's passed a number of baseball legends on the all-time leaderboard.

When he surpassed Dave Winfield in career home runs, it was a big deal to "The Big Hurt," because Winfield was Thomas' favorite player growing up.

Thomas continued to climb the leaderboard Monday with a two-run homer off Keith Foulke amidst the A's 9-0 win over Boston at the Coliseum.

It was the 476th of Thomas' career, moving past Willie Stargell and Stan Musial, both Hall of Famers, for 23rd on the all-time list.

"It's been a great comeback year," Thomas. "I'm really happy to be helping the team. I met (Stargell) a few times. He was a great leader. I'm happy to keep moving up the leaderboard. At the start of the season, nobody thought this could happen."

It was great day all-around for Thomas. He watched with joy as the team from Columbus, Ga., where he was born and grew up, won the Little League World Series.

Nick Swisher homered later in the A's seventh inning. It was the 28th for each as they jostle for the team lead in dingers.

"He said I'm not going to get too far from him," Thomas said. "I'll do my best to turn up the heat and have fun with that. We need both of us to play well this time of year."

REPLAY: Esteban Loaiza pitched seven scoreless innings, running his scoreless streak to 16 innings and going 28 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. Loaiza went 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA in six August starts, striking out 31 and walking four.

Frank Thomas walked three times and hit a home run. Bobby Kielty had two big hits that drove in two early runs. Nick Swisher and Adam Melhuse added late home runs for the 9-0 win over Boston.


--RHP Huston Street (strained left groin) made 53 pitches from flat ground, going back to 125 feet, and called it "progress." Manager Ken Macha said Street is close to throwing from a mound and won't make a rehab appearance, but might pitch a simulated game if he needs to face hitters.

--C Adam Melhuse, who rarely plays because of Jason Kendall's durability, pinch hit for Frank Thomas in the eighth inning and hit a two-run home run -- the A's first pinch hit home run since Scott Hatteberg on July 21, 2004 at Seattle.

--RHP Esteban Loaiza (8-7) is over .500 for the first time this year, and his sensational August lowered his season ERA from 6.72 to 4.82.

--INF Antonio Perez is 7-for-77 (.091) with 35 strikeouts this year, which is the lowest in Oakland history by a non-pitcher. Dave Duncan hit .126 in 150 plate appearances in 1969. The last AL hitter to bat under .100 with a minimum of 75 plate appearances is Ron Karkovice, who hit .071 (6-for-85) for the White Sox in 1987.

--C Kurt Suzuki, who played this year at Double-A Midland, hit a walk-off homer Sunday for Team USA to beat Brazil 8-7 in the second game of pool play at the 2006 Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in Havana, Cuba.

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