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October 3, 2006

Frank Thomas

Barry Zito


Q. Frank, can you talk about Ron Gardenhire said that they would have rather been more careful with you, but every situation you were leading off, and I think in a tight game. Did you walk up and say "This is great, they have got to pitch to me in these spots"?
FRANK THOMAS: I felt that. No damage could be done with a sole homerun. Especially with Johan. He is going to challenge everybody, he is that good, so I didn't expect -- I knew he was going to challenge me, and he has challenged me for the last four or so years.
So it's always a battle with him. Fortunately, 3-1 there, got a changeup. I got out front a little bit, but he kept my hands back and got it down the line.

Q. Frank, what does this do for your confidence after beating Johan here? He has gone 23 starts without losing.
FRANK THOMAS: I told you yesterday, we are going to win. We know that. We played great team baseball all year long, fundamentally sound baseball all year long, just like these guys. It's just one of these things that we came to win, it's going to be a dog fight, we know that, but this is Game 1, and we are definitely happy to win the first game.

Q. How gratifying for you is this after last year, and not being able to participate in the post-season, having the White Sox win it all, for you to have success early in the season?
FRANK THOMAS: Last year I saw the White Sox win it all right before my eyes, I couldn't perform or help the team, so I am glad to be playing 100 percent.

Q. Barry, you are the only guy left on the pitching staff from 2002 when you played these guys, so it's pretty hard to say you are beating the same club, but how are they different from the guys you were facing a few years back?
BARRY ZITO: Minnesota -- they still have a lot -- maybe not a lot of guys, but Torii sticks out in my mind and, obviously, Santana. It's still a team, and you have to come in be focused with, home field advantage.
The fans here are unbelievable, probably more audible than the other fans, and you've got to really stay focused on your job hitting a pitch solid.

Q. Frank, second home run turns out to be the one that wins the game. Can you run through that pitch selection?
FRANK THOMAS: I just stayed there and hit the ball hard because it just made a nasty pitch with a slider, and I held my ground through the middle, and the ball ran in and I reacted. Just happy I saved that pitch.

Q. The question is for Barry: When you get two runs in the second like you did today, and you are facing a guy like Santana, what does that do for your defense going forward?
BARRY ZITO: It's great because first blood means a lot, especially when you are playing on the road, and the fact that we could get it off that guy, second Cy Young this year, and he is unbeaten here, and you can just keep going down the line. All the newspapers, they have them posted here in the dome.
It's a good cushion, but I couldn't rely on anything. Those guys are jumping back in the game basically as soon as they can, and they showed that with the homer by Rondell.

Q. Your second at-bat, you didn't miss a three-homer today by much. Did you know that was fouled?
And your hit to right, what was your reaction when you saw Cuddyer?
FRANK THOMAS: I just knew he was going to be throwing the ball to first base. He has got a great arm and I was expecting for him to throw the ball to first base, but as for the homerun, it was one of those things that I kind of lost it a little bit because I turned the wrist on the slider, so I am just happy the first one went out. It was a big day. Like I said, I am happy to win this first game because this is a tough place to win ball games.

Q. Frank, you seem to have a flare for hitting homeruns, on big occasions, opening day in Chicago. Do you think you are developing a flare for the dramatic or did you already bring that to Oakland?
FRANK THOMAS: I just came to play. I have been locked in all year long, happy to be back, that hunger and drive is back. So like I said, I am just happy being on a new team with a new spirit and a chance to do some big things here.

Q. Barry, given the playoff history the last few years for your team, and given the way the Twins play here, is it significant for you to have pitched the way you did today?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, there is only maybe four or five guys on that team from '03 -- or on this team from '03, and I don't think we have stuff in the back of our heads, there was myself, and Chavez, and maybe a few others, but it's interesting, we want to win regardless of where we are at.
I think the odds are stacked against us a little more here, but Frank coming through with the homers, it was huge, and that's all I can ask for out of the offense with Santana, so luckily we made it work today.

Q. Barry, in a game this tight, can you talk about Morneau hit a couple balls to deep center. Did you know the park was going to hold those, or did you think one mistake might make all the difference?
BARRY ZITO: One mistake could make the difference here, and the way the game played out showed that, but this park held Morneau twice and held Torii, didn't hold Rondell or Frank, it was more of a amazing catch that Kots made and I think it plays pretty fair out there.

End of FastScripts...

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