As he’s done so often throughout his 17-year major league career, Frank Thomas spoke softly and carried a big stick Monday night.
Thomas, who set the White Sox’ franchise record with 448 home runs for the White Sox from 1990-2005 before joining Oakland in the offseason, homered twice in his return to Chicago Monday night.
The Athletics lost the game, however, 5-4 in 10 innings.
It was the first multihomer game for Thomas since June 12, 2004 and the 27th of his career. The game was a highlight in a season where Thomas has had few, as his 3-for-5 night raised his batting average to .195.
“I’ve been looking for this for a long time to come back here and show everybody I’m not dead,” said Thomas, who received a standing ovation in his first at-bat. “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.”
In Decemeber, The White Sox bought out Thomas’ contract in an acrimonious departure which eventually led to general manager Ken Williams publicly calling Thomas “an idiot.”
The two-time MVP walked past but did not speak to Williams before the game.
The general manager did not appear to back away from his comments Monday.
“Maybe I was ambiguous about what I had to say,” Williams said. “What I had to say I meant, and I don’t feel any need to bring in any more clarity. That’s my own personal opinion. (Fans) don’t (know) what I know. All they know is what happened on the field. And they can react accordingly.”
Thomas is 1-for-2 with a single and a walk in his career against White Sox starter Javier Vazquez (4-3, 4.22 ERA), who will try and avoid his third straight loss Tuesday.
Vazquez allowed five runs and eight hits—including two homers—in seven innings of a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday. He has allowed three home runs in 12 2-3 innings over his last two starts after yielding just one homer in 40 2-3 innings in his first six outings of the season.
The right-hander has a 9.16 ERA and .329 opponent batting average in his three losses this season, versus a 1.56 ERA and .178 opponent average in his other five starts.
Vazquez is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two career starts against the Athletics (22-22), but has not faced them since the 2004 season.
Monday’s win was the third in four games for the White Sox (29-15), who are 6-6 since opening the season 23-9. Chicago trails the Detroit Tigers by one game for both the AL Central lead and baseball’s best record.
Right fielder Jermaine Dye, who played for Oakland from 2001-2004, hit his 11th home run Monday. He is just 5-for-30 in nine games against the Athletics since joining the White Sox last season, though, with Oakland winning seven of those contests.
Kirk Saarloos (2-1, 4.70), who began the season in Oakland’s bullpen, seeks his third win in four outings since joining the starting rotation. The right-hander limited Seattle to two runs—one earned—in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-3 win on Thursday.
Saarloos is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three starts against the White Sox, all of them coming last season.