CHICAGO (AP) -- Frank Thomas felt right at home. He should have.
After 16 years in Chicago, he was back among familiar faces in a
stadium where he was a great hitter for a long time.
Thomas hit two solo homers for Oakland in his return to U.S.
Cellular Field, but it wasn't enough for a victory Monday night.
His old team, the Chicago White Sox, got a game-winning bunt single
from Pablo Ozuna in the 10th inning for a 5-4 win over the
"Bittersweet," Thomas said after a game that featured a video
tribute of his White Sox career, a standing ovation from a sellout
crowd of 39,354 and a 3-for-5 performance.
"I've been looking for this for a long time to come back here
and show everybody I'm not dead," the two-time MVP added. "It's
been a rough six months for me. Everyone thought I was done. I've
had a slow start, but I know what I'm capable of doing in a short
period of time."
Ozuna then pushed a bunt up the first base line, and by the time
first baseman Nick Swisher picked up the ball and made an
off-target throw, the leadoff hitter had already beaten it out to
send Pierzynski home.
"I was going to try to lay one down and beat the throw out and
win the game with a bunt because I am a better bunter than I am a
hitter," Ozuna said.
Swisher said there was nothing he could do.
"It was just a perfect bunt. I mean, it was absolutely
perfect," he said.
Bobby Jenks (2-1) pitched two innings for the win.
Wearing Oakland's green and yellow in a familiar park where he
always loved to hit, Thomas also struck out and in his final at-bat
fouled out to the catcher with runners at second and third in the
10th. Jenks then fanned Bobby Crosby to get out of the inning.
Thomas had to keep his emotions in check during the tribute on
the large scoreboard.
"It was hard to look at all that stuff," he said. "I know how
dedicated I was to this organization. It just felt weird being on
another team coming back here. In my heart and my soul I thought I
would retire with the Chicago White Sox and it didn't happen. But
I'm not done and will continue to play the game as long as
Thomas was upset when team owner Jerry Reinsdorf didn't contact
him after he was not brought back following 16 seasons with the
White Sox. And after he expressed his disappointment again in a
spring training interview, White Sox general manager Ken Williams
called him an "idiot."
Williams and Thomas aired out their differences in a phone call
this spring and even if they have not patched up their
relationship, Thomas said it felt good to be home.
"There's definitely no bitterness in my heart," he said.
Thomas had 12 homers in limited time a year ago because of an
ankle injury but was still part of the White Sox team that won the
World Series for the first time since 1917. He made a speech at the
After getting a standing ovation and waving his helmet to the
crowd as he stood at the plate, Thomas, who entered the game
batting .178, drove a 3-1 pitch from Jon Garland over the
left-field wall. The ovation continued -- a rarity for a visiting
Crosby followed Thomas' eighth homer with his sixth, Jay Payton
doubled and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a former teammate of
Thomas', came to the mound. Seconds later, he was ejected by plate
umpire Doug Eddings for his comments about balls and strikes and
then got in the ump's face to vent his anger before leaving.
In his next at-bat with some boos pouring out of the stands,
Thomas lined a ball into the left-field corner. But, bothered by a
sore quadriceps muscle, he could only motor slowly to first for a
single as Mark Kotsay raced from first to third. Crosby then hit
another RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
Thomas wasn't done. In his third at-bat in the fifth, he yanked
another pitch from Garland over the bullpen in left -- his 27th
career multihomer game and first with the A's.
Chicago's Paul Konerko hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 in the
Garland gave up 10 hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings. He was
facing an A's team that was held to one hit Sunday by the Giants'
Matt Cain. Oakland starter Barry Zito gave up four hits and a run
in six innings, but walked six.
Thomas' last multihomer game came on June 12, 2004, against
the Braves. ... The game was delayed for several minutes in the
second inning when a squirrel raced across the grass in left field,
avoided two security personnel and ran down the left-field line
before disappearing behind the tarp.