Athletics Short Hops: Game 1

Athletics Short Hops: Game 1

MINNEAPOLIS -- Fielding the Athletics' Game 1 victory over the Twins on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Barry Zito won The Battle of the Aces over Johan Santana with the help of two home runs from Frank Thomas.

Frozen moment
Marco Scutaro played a key role for the Athletics this year in replacing injured shortstop Bobby Crosby and came through with a two-out run-scoring double off Santana in the second inning.

Big number
.000 -- The Twins were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Game balls (out of five)
Zito, five. The Game 1 winner was outstanding for eight innings. The left-hander said on Monday that starting pitching needs to set the tone and he did that in perhaps his finest moment with the A's.

Thomas, five. The Big Hurt provided most of the offense with a pair of home runs.

Huston Street, three. Street picked up his first postseason save despite a leadoff triple by Michael Cuddyer that was lost in the roof by Milton Bradley.

Sense of October
The Twins sold out the Metrodome as expected and the crowd was loud. But Frank Thomas put a little bit of a muzzle on the fans with his leadoff home run in the second inning.

Lines of the game
Middle of the Twins lineup
12 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBIs
Comment: That's what the middle of the Twins batting order -- Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter -- were through eight innings off Zito.

Barry Zito
8 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 1 Ks
Comment: His curve was good, but he also got some outs with well-placed fastballs even though he struck out just one.

"There was so much talk this week about [how] we had no chance. I think it was written in the local paper here: Sure Thing. We kind of like being the underdog, nobody knows where we're coming from." -- Oakland first baseman Nick Swisher

Next step
Game 2 is at the Metrodome on Wednesday and the Athletics, with Esteban Loaiza on the mound against rookie Boof Bonser, have a chance to really put the Twins in deep trouble with a second straight win in Minnesota.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.