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MINNESOTA-OAKLAND

Athletics Look to Put Questions Behind Them

October 06, 2006|From the Associated Press

OAKLAND — Third baseman Eric Chavez has witnessed all sorts of playoff collapses by his Oakland Athletics, and he understands he will keep hearing all sorts of questions about them until they finally reach the next round.

The A's are 0-fer in their last nine potential clinching games.

"We should have to answer them," Chavez said Thursday as the A's prepared for today's Game 3 against the Minnesota Twins. "You can't really avoid them. It is what it is. They're facts.... Hopefully we will be able to answer some different questions next year."

The A's returned home in a familiar spot: needing one victory to eliminate the Twins and close out a playoff series. Dan Haren will start for Oakland against Brad Radke.

The A's, who missed the playoffs the last two years, have a 2-0 advantage for the third time in five postseason series since 2000. They will be without second baseman Mark Ellis for the remainder of the postseason after he broke his right index finger when he swung at a pitch that hit his hand in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-2 win. D'Angelo Jimenez will start in his place.

The Twins will turn to Radke to help them bounce back after losing twice in the Metrodome, one of the most deafening venues in the league.

"I don't think there were any hankies being passed around," Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're professional about what we're doing here. We're down two games to none. It's not like we have to win three. We have to win one. Start with one and go from there. It makes the task a little less daunting."

Oakland lost Game 5 to the Yankees in 2000 and blew a 2-0 division series lead to New York the following year.

The A's surrendered a 2-1 advantage against the Twins in '02 and a 2-0 lead over Boston in '03.

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