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Welcome to 2004 - A's Offense Backs Rich Harden's Win

In a game that had you checking your calendar as well as your watch, Rich Harden recorded the win for the A's as the offense exploded for five runs. Do you even remember the last time the A's scored at will with two-out magic? I don't.

On a related note, do you know the last time Hideki Matsui stole a base? It was four years ago. He had one tonight that ultimately decided the game.

Arizona started tonight's scoring in the second. After Chris Carter followed a pop-up towards the stands, and inexplicably did not reach out his glove to catch the ball, Wily Mo Pena hit the next pitch into the stands to put the A's in the early hole. The A's would tie the game in the fourth as Matsui walked and would legitimately steal second base. Sweeney would bloop-swingle him in to tie the game.

The A's would explode in the fifth, with singles by DeJesus and Sizemore, and RBI singles by Pennington and Crisp, followed by an RBI double by Matsui to plate a total of 4. The five total runs would be just enough to win.

Harden was extremely good tonight; in his six innings, he allowed but 4 hits and two runs, while striking out six. Coco Crisp helped by taking a homerun away over the wall.

Brad Ziegler replaced Harden, and was great, par for the course. Even taking one off his shin, Ziggy still managed to shut down the D-Backs, lowering his ERA to 1.86. Had Melvin gone straight to Devine and Bailey, the A's would have had a comfortable win. However, Brian Fuentes pitched the eighth, allowing a two-run homerun and retiring only one batter. Devine cleaned up, and Bailey slammed the door in the ninth. Conor Jackson would replace Carter for defense and the A's would take it home.

July is a new month. Let's hope for better things.