Thomas, A's Look To Get Back On Track

Frank Thomas doesn't need to be told what he means to the A's offense, nor does he need to be told that if he doesn't start hitting, the A's vacation is going to start in a hurry.

Frank Thomas came to the plate five times in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. Three times, there were runners in scoring position. Twice, it was just after Milton Bradley had homered. All five times, Thomas made outs, including three strikeouts.

The final out was the most painful, a sky-high drive to center with the bases loaded -- Thomas represented the winning run -- that ended the Tigers' 8-5 win, which gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven ALCS.

"Our backs are really against the wall now," said Thomas, who is 0-for-8 with a walk after two games. "We've got to continue to grind. I really have to get it going. I had some good opportunities and just didn't come through."

Eight teams in LCS history have taken a 2-0 lead on the road. All eight times, they've gone on to win the series. Three times in World Series play, however, a team has won after losing the first two at home.

Game 3 is Friday in frigid Detroit.

The A's didn't see too many of the pitches from the Tigers bullpen. Even with Joel Zumaya and his 100-plus mph fastball unavailable, Jason Grilli struck out Thomas with a 97 mph fastball to end the seventh.

Fernando Rodney was just as overpowering in the eighth, striking out Chavez (96 mph), Payton (98 mph) and Nick Swisher (98 mph) -- all swinging.

"They keep coming at you," third baseman Eric Chavez said. "I'm sure our pitchers will say their lineup keeps coming at you. We scored that one run early, and they erased that in a heartbeat. It's tough. They have a very good team."

Friday's Notebook

--RF Milton Bradley became the third player to homer from both sides of the plate in a postseason game, joining Bernie Williams (1995 Division Series Game 3) and Chipper Jones (2003 Division Series Game 4). The two home runs matched the A's LCS record, done three times, most recently by Rickey Henderson in Game 4 of the 1989 series at Toronto. Bradley's four hits matched an Oakland LCS record previously reached by Jerry Browne and Sal Bando.

--LF Jay Payton has an 11-game postseason hitting streak, seven shy of the record held by David Ortiz.

--LHP Joe Kennedy pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, continuing a fine trend by the A's bullpen. Before closer Huston Street gave up a solo homer in the ninth, the A's bullpen hadn't allowed a run in 8 1/3 innings.

--RHP Rich Harden will start Game 3 in weather that could include snow. Harden grew up in Canada and doesn't mind. He's actually hoping it snows.

--1B Nick Swisher is 0-for-6 with five strikeouts and two walks after two games. The only time he's put the ball in play was a popup to second in the sixth inning of Game 1.

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