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Harden Strikes Out 11 In Sparkling Start; Willingham Homers for the Runs

So I wonder if Boston ever looks at Rich Harden's starts and says, " hurt could he really be"? (Psst: Don't answer that.) Harden was phenomenal; just awesome. Reaching 92-93 consistantly on the gun, he crafted an amazing start against the Blue Jays, becoming the winning pitcher on a single hit by the A's, a homerun by Willingham. (Or Willingsham, if you saw the game.)

Hits were few and far between tonight; the Blue Jays managed three; the A's just four. Harden didn't allow his first hit until the fifth inning, but he did get into a jam to lead off the game, which makes his start even that much more remarkable. Harden made an error to allow the first batter to reach base, then he walked the bases loaded, then proceeded to strike out the side on nine pitches. He breezed through the next few innings; his only other moment of trouble in the sixth as Jemile Weeks saved a run with a very nice play. He would throw seven before turning the ball over to Balfour and Bailey (GoodBailey, just so we're clear; he got the save).

The A's got a walk from Weeks in their half of the first inning, and then Willingham homered to make it 2-0, a score that would hold up for the entire game. The A's struck out 4 times tonight; the Blue Jays 13. On Brandon Allen watch; no hits tonight, but half the team can say the same.

The A's even things with the Blue Jays and look to win the series this weekend.

Current Series

4 game series vs Blue Jays @ Coliseum

Thu 08/18 WP: Ricky Romero (12 - 9)
LP: Trevor Cahill (9 - 12)
0 - 7 loss
Fri 08/19 WP: Rich Harden (4 - 2)
SV: Andrew Bailey
LP: Brett Cecil (4 - 6)
2 - 0 win

Toronto Blue Jays
@ Oakland Athletics

Saturday, Aug 20, 2011, 6:05 PM PDT Coliseum

Henderson Alvarez vs Gio Gonzalez

Clear. Winds blowing out to center field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 70.

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Sun 08/21 1:05 PM PDT