Philadelphia at Oakland

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Philadelphia (43-37)000000000032
Oakland (43-35) «20000102x580

Harden's dominant eight innings help A's blank slumping Phillies

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rich Harden deliberately didn't rear back and throw as hard as he could against the Phillies.

The result: a career-high 11 strikeouts.

Harden was dominant over eight innings, allowing two hits to lead the Oakland Athletics over Philadelphia 5-0 Thursday.

"Sometimes when I get into trouble I do try to reach for something extra instead of pitching to location," Harden said. "(Catcher Rob) Bowen had to come out once to slow me down. My goal is to be more efficient."

Harden (5-0) retired his first 14 batters before Shane Victorino singled cleanly into center field. Victorino recorded Philadelphia's other hit off Harden, an infield single with one out in the eighth.

"I've had games where I've felt better," Harden said. "In the past I've always had that one inning when I'd lose command suddenly. I want to get away from that. I was able to locate pitches and I felt good."

Harden's previous best for strikeouts was 10 against Tampa Bay on Aug. 31, 2003. He is the first A's pitcher to start a season 5-0 since Billy Koch in 2002, and he improved to 18-3 in 29 starts when pitching at least seven innings.

"I can't think of a more dominating performance than that one," A's manager Bob Geren said. "When he's on, he's almost unhittable."

Sidetracked by injuries during much of his career, Harden has made nine consecutive turns in the rotation for the first time in three years. He had not pitched eight innings since April 21, 2006, against the Los Angeles Angels.

"He pitched one of the better games against us this year if not the best," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We got beat by a good pitcher. They outhit us and outpitched us."

Harden threw 95 pitches, easily his most proficient outing of the season.

"He didn't leave too much over the plate for us," Phillies second baseman Chase Utley said. "It seemed like he could have gone longer."

Alan Embree completed the three-hitter, allowing Pat Burrell's two-out triple before retiring Ryan Howard on a groundout.

NL East-leading Philadelphia has lost seven of eight. Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins struck out three times and made his first error in 40 games when he mishandled a grounder in the seventh.

Carlos Gonzalez homered for Oakland, which has won three of its last four series.

Adam Eaton (2-6) dropped to 0-4 in nine road games, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings.

"It would be nice to actually not give up a couple of runs in the first inning," Eaton said. "It's happened in four starts. With what Harden did out there, it's tough not to fall right behind the 8-ball. Harden really had no-hit stuff; he had our number."

Oakland's first three batters reached: Mark Ellis walked and scored on an RBI double by Ryan Sweeney, who came around on Jack Cust's single. Sweeney then left the game due to a sprained left ankle and was sent for X-rays.

"His foot got caught up with the catcher and it swelled up quickly," Geren said.

Gonzalez homered for a 3-0 lead in the sixth. Jack Hannahan doubled in a run in the eighth against Tom Gordon and scored on an error by Victorino in center.

Notes

  • Harden has allowed more than three runs in only one of his 11 starts and improved to 31-0 in 38 starts when getting four or more runs of support.
  • The Phillies have been successful on 23 consecutive steal attempts and lead the majors with a 90 percent success rate.
  • Phillies OF Geoff Jenkins went 0-for-3 and is hitless in his last 26 at-bats.
  • Athletics SS Bobby Crosby became the fifth Oakland player to record at least 25 doubles before the All-Star Break.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Rich Harden strikes out 11 and limits the Phillies to two hits over eight innings.  (AP)
Rich Harden strikes out 11 and limits the Phillies to two hits over eight innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

R. Harden
IP 8.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 1
K 11
Oakland

C. Gonzalez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4000031 .271
Chase Utley, 2B4000011 .293
Pat Burrell, LF4010000 .272
Ryan Howard, 1B4000001 .213
Greg Dobbs, 3B3000000 .337
Shane Victorino, CF3020010 .280
Jayson Werth, RF3000032 .257
Geoff Jenkins, DH3000021 .239
Carlos Ruiz, C2000111 .219
Totals30030111  
Batting
3B - Pat Burrell (2, Embree)
SB - Shane Victorino (20, 2nd base off Harden/Bowen)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Shane Victorino 1
E - Jimmy Rollins (4, Misplayed grounder), Shane Victorino (1, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Adam Eaton (L,2-6) 7633361 4.86
Tom Gordon 1221110 5.20
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Eaton 111-70, Tom Gordon 18-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Eaton 9-6
Batters Faced - Adam Eaton 30, Tom Gordon 5
Oakland Athletics
Mark Ellis, 2B3100101 .254
Ryan Sweeney, RF1111000 .290
    Rajai Davis, CF3010001 .217
Jack Cust, LF3011111 .241
    Emil Brown, LF0000000 .246
Eric Chavez, DH3100125 .259
Bobby Crosby, SS4010005 .259
Jack Hannahan, 3B3111111 .222
Carlos Gonzalez, CF-RF4121011 .253
Daric Barton, 1B4000012 .222
Rob Bowen, C3010010 .243
Totals3158447  
Batting
2B - Ryan Sweeney (7, Eaton), Bobby Crosby (25, Eaton), Jack Hannahan (16, Gordon), Rob Bowen (1, Eaton)
HR - Carlos Gonzalez (2, Eaton)
RBI - Ryan Sweeney (25), Jack Cust (38), Jack Hannahan (23), Carlos Gonzalez (13)
CS - Rajai Davis (3, 2nd base by Eaton/Ruiz)
Team LOB - 6
Oakland Athletics
Rich Harden (W,5-0) 82001110 2.15
Alan Embree 1100000 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 95-64, Alan Embree 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 4-9, Alan Embree 2-1
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 27, Alan Embree 4
Game Information
Attendance - 17228
Game Time - 2:13
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Jeff Nelson, Third Base - Adrian Johnson