for this game

Willingham, Harden lead A's past Jays

Aug 20, 2011 - 7:09 AM Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Josh Willingham's two-run homer in the first inning was all Rich Harden and the Oakland Athletics bullpen needed to down the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-0, in the second meeting of a four-game series.

Harden (4-2) struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and four walks for Oakland, which has won three of four overall. Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey both hurled an inning of relief to finish off the shutout.

Willingham's homer was the only blemish for Brett Cecil (4-6), who otherwise allowed three hits and five walks over seven frames.

The Blue Jays had won three in a row and were coming off a 7-0 victory in the series opener. They had a chance to get to Harden in the first inning when an error and two walks loaded the bases, but Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus all went down swinging against the A's starter.

"He is the one guy on the team who has the ability to strike three guys out in a row like that," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "That was a big momentum shift."

Willingham golfed his 21st home run of the season in the bottom half, the only extra-base hit recorded by the A's all night. Jemile Weeks walked ahead of the blast.

Harden didn't allow a hit until the fifth, and got a nice defensive play from his second baseman to keep Toronto off the board in the sixth.

With one out and a runner on second, Encarnacion hit a sharp grounder in the hole between first and second. A ranging Weeks made a diving stab to his left and got the out at first, and Harden struck out Rasmus to end the threat.

Balfour stranded a runner on third in the eighth, and Bailey erased a one-out single with a game-ending double-play ball off the bat of Aaron Hill to post his 16th save of the season.

Game Notes

Harden has 11 career double-digit strikeouts games, his previous coming against the Mets on September 5, 2009...Jose Bautista singled and walked three times for Toronto, which went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position...Game time: 2:22.