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Thomas, A's power past shorthanded Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox were hurting enough as
it was before learning that slugger David Ortiz had a recurrence of
an irregular heartbeat.

After losing to the Oakland Athletics 9-0 on Monday night, the
Red Sox announced that Ortiz would leave the team Tuesday and
return to Boston to be examined again for medical tests.

"He will get a clean bill of health before he plays again,"
manager Terry Francona said. "The games are important, but we have
a responsibility to do what's right."

Big Papi was a late scratch for what was first thought to be the
flu. Ortiz, who on Sunday hit his major league-leading 47th home
run at Seattle, already spent time in a Boston hospital earlier
this month for the condition. He said he thought it was caused by
fatigue.

Ortiz was scheduled to be seen by Dr. Larry Roman.

"It's not good," Boston reliever Mike Timlin said. "This game
is nothing compared to someone's health or family. We don't play
games with people's lives. I don't know any of the details. All I
can do is pray for him."

Francona, general manager Theo Epstein and trainer Paul Lessard
met with Ortiz just more than an hour before game time.

"We honestly think he's OK, but he can't play like that,"
Francona said. "We can't do it."

Frank Thomas hit his 476th home run, Nick Swisher connected
three batters later and Esteban Loaiza completed a perfect August
by winning his fourth straight decision for the AL West-leading
A's.

Pinch-hitter Adam Melhuse hit a two-run homer in the eighth, and
Bobby Kielty and Jay Payton each drove in two runs for the AL
West-leading A's, who increased their division lead to 6½ games
over Los Angeles after the Angels lost 2-0 at Seattle.

Thomas hit his 28th homer of the year leading off the seventh
against Keith Foulke, moving past Willie Stargell and Stan Musial
for 23rd on the career list. Swisher also has 28 home runs, tied
with Thomas for the team lead.

"It's been a great comeback year," said the 38-year-old
Thomas, plagued by injuries the past two seasons with the Chicago
White Sox. "It's great to be helping the team, especially in the
stretch drive when it counts."

Melhuse hit his fourth home run of the year, the first pinch-hit
homer by an A's player since Scott Hatteberg at Seattle on July 21,
2004.

Loaiza (8-7) went 4-0 in August for a season-best winning
streak, equaling his best stretch from 2005. Kielty and Payton each
hit RBI doubles in the third and Thomas also drew a bases-loaded
walk on a cool Bay Area night when the first-pitch temperature was
60 degrees.

Kielty had a fourth-inning RBI single and Payton added a
sacrifice fly in the inning.

The Red Sox had just six hits in losing their fourth straight
and 10th in 12, falling seven games behind the idle first-place New
York Yankees. Boston's AL East deficit is its largest since it was
down 7½ games on Aug. 20, 2004.

Boston is 8-19 in August, losing 19 games in a month for the
first time since April 1996. This marks Boston's first August with
more than 18 losses since dropping 21 in August 1985.

Kason Gabbard (0-3) didn't allow a hit until Kielty's one-out
RBI double in the third. He was done an inning later after allowing
four straight singles, including Kielty's RBI single. Bryan Corey
relieved and issued Thomas' third free pass of the game, bringing
in a run.

Loaiza, who pitched a four-hit shutout last Wednesday at
Toronto, threw seven shutout innings. He allowed five hits, struck
out four and walked one. He hasn't given up an earned run in three
starts since Aug. 13, 22 2/3 innings.

Boston, swept at Seattle last weekend, was without the heart of
its batting order. Along with Ortiz, left fielder Manny Ramirez
missed his fourth start in five with a sore right knee and wasn't
expected to play all series.

The team also sent pitcher Kyle Snyder back to its hotel because
of the bug that has been going around the clubhouse.

Carlos Pena made his Boston debut and started at first base
after the Red Sox purchased his contract from Triple-A Pawtucket
earlier in the day. On one play, he dived over the short padded
wall along the first-base line and fell awkwardly into the crowd
before getting up unharmed.

The grounds crew added dirt to the mound in the bottom of the
first after Gabbard gave up a leadoff walk to Jason Kendall and
apparently was dissatisfied with the condition of the mound, which
drew boos from the crowd. Then, the crew came out again to rake the
mound before the top of the second.

Neither team took batting practice as the grounds crew worked to
finish the transformation of the field, which was used by the NFL's
Oakland Raiders for an exhibition game Friday night and a fan rally
Sunday.

Game notes
Oakland is a majors-best 30-13 since the All-Star break and
19-6 in August ... The A's have not lost in nine series -- winning
all those except for a four-game split last week at Kansas City --
since Boston took two of three from Oakland July 24-26.