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Brilliant Harden Blows Blue Jays Away, A's Win 4-1

Jealous, Boston?
Jealous, Boston?

Harden was simply amazing, striking out 8, walking 2, and allowing 1 run in his 7 innings of work. The A's supported him (what a concept!) with two mammoth home runs off of the bats of Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki, the former coming with Cliff Pennington on base.

Aside from allowing a solo HR to Edwin Encarnacion in the 2nd inning, Harden was fantastic. The HR was one of only 5 hits allowed by Harden all day, and the only one worth extra bases. And perhaps the best news of all? He averaged 92.3 mph on his fastball, and hit 96 twice. He hasn't done that over a season in the entire PitchFX era, save for 25 innings in his injury-shortened 2007.

In the 7th inning, the Jays finally threatened, as Edwin Encarnacion walked and advanced to 3B on a Colby Rasmus single. And just like that, the winning run was at the plate with no outs. What did Harden do? Got Aaron Hill to pop out to 2B, and then struck out J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie on gorgeous diving low and away changeups. Remember how then-backup catcher Adam Melhuse called Harden's changeup a "spluckle", because it was like a splitter crossed with a knuckleball? It's back.

Brett Cecil, on the other hand, actually pitched fairly well, but the two homers were obviously his downfall. To his credit, he had a no-hitter midway through the 3rd inning, and he only allowed 4 hits in 7 innings. Of course, when two of those are home runs, things look a bit different.

In other news, Coco Crisp is still day-to-day with a calf strain, but Bob Melvin thinks he could be available to pinch hit on Thursday (via Slusser).

Oh, and perhaps the best thing of all? Best Hitter In Baseball™ Jose Bautista went 0-4. That's worth a win by itself.

Current Series

Athletics lead the series 1-0

Tue 08/09 4 - 1 win

Oakland Athletics
@ Toronto Blue Jays

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011, 4:07 PM PDT
Rogers Centre

Gio Gonzalez vs Henderson Alvarez

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing in from left field at 15-20 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 70.

Complete Coverage >

Thu 08/11 9:37 AM PDT