for this game

Harden outduels Cain as A's top Giants

Jun 15, 2008 - 5:47 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Rich Harden and Matt Cain got locked in a pitchers' duel and strikeout contest. Cain had more strikeouts, but Harden won the game.

Harden allowed just one hit and three baserunners and had nine strikeouts in six innings for the Oakland Athletics, who posted a 4-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

"I think coming off my last start I wasn't quite feeling 100 percent and I think that's the big reason why we didn't push it today," Harden said. "I felt good but there's no sense in really pushing it right now."

Harden posted his first win since he beat the Boston Red Sox on May 23 and had three no decisions despite allowing three runs or fewer while pitching at least six innings in those starts.

"I'd like to get my pitch count up a little more, but we have some time to do that, so there's no sense doing it right now," Harden said. "I was fine with that. Last game, I had some high intensity pitches and I think I was a little sore a few days after."

Jack Cust had an RBI double, Daric Barton added a sacrifice fly and Kurt Suzuki had three hits for the A's, who secured their fifth straight win and sixth in their last seven in the "Bay Bridge Series" against The Giants.

Cain (3-5) pitched seven solid innings, gave up just six hits and three runs and struck out a season-high 11 but was the hard-luck loser for San Francisco.

"Cain threw a great ballgame," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He gave us a chance, and we have just been shut down offensively, but Matt Cain definitely did a great job, too. Matt knows he did all he could.

"He understands how well the other guy pitched. He can't control some things, and you get shut out, that is a tough break for a starter."

The Giants continue to struggle at home, dropping to 13-21 at AT&T Park - the worst home record in the major leagues.

"We've got to get that going at home," Cain said. "This is a place we've got to take advantage of. It's a great place to pitch for us.

"We like it here pitching, and I think its just a confidence thing with us and our hitters. It's a great pitcher's park and obviously you can see that. You see a lot of low runs, a lot of low scores and our infield is not as fast as some other (parks) and the outfield, right field and left field doesn't really give you what a lot of other places do.

"It's a great place to pitch for us, and that can be a little frustrating when guys go ahead and tee off on a ball, and it doesn't really go anywhere so it's tough."

Ryan Sweeney singled to left with one out and scored on a double to right by Cust to give the A's a 1-0 lead.

Oakland took advantage in the sixth, when Kurt Suzuki hit a line drive to center. Aaron Rowand tried to make a diving catch.

Instead, he never got to the ball which went all the way to the center-field wall as Suzuki ended up with his first career triple. Barton came through with a sacrifice fly to right-center - easily scoring Suzuki for a 2-0 cushion.

The Giants only managed a single to right from Randy Winn in the bottom of the first. Harden racked up five strikeouts in a row from the last out of the second inning to the first out in the fourth.

His biggest concern had to be his pitch count, which was at 76 through five innings and 95 after six, when he was taken out for pinch hitter Emil Brown.

"I just wanted to keep him right around 100 today so I didn't want to push him too far," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "He's having a great year for us, and I just want it to remain that way."

Cain was equally as impressive, striking out the side in the second and third innings. He has not won a game during interleague play since he beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 19, 2006 - a span of six starts, during which he posted a 0-5 mark with a 4.24 ERA.

"It's disappointing," Cain said. "I felt like I had great stuff today and had some pitches that obviously came back to get me. The first inning, the ball came back on Cust and kind of got a little unlucky.

"The ball stayed down in the corner for Sweeney to score from first, too. I made a couple of mistakes, too. I got a 0-2 pitch to Suzuki and the ball ended up being a triple. The ball was pretty much down the middle."

The Giants had a golden opportunity in the seventh.

With two outs, Rowand reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Eric Chavez. After an infield single to short by pinch hitter Rich Aurilia to put runners at the corners, reliever Alan Embree was summoned from the bullpen and struck out Jose Castillo with a fastball on the outside corner to end the inning.

The A's used that momentum to start another rally, starting the eighth with a single to right by Mark Ellis - the last batter Cain faced. Jack Taschner came in from the bullpen and Sweeney reached on a bunt single, which Taschner tried to dive to snag.

Instead of letting the ball drop for a sacrifice bunt, runners were at first and second with nobody out. Cust grounded into a fielder's choice to put runners at the corners.

But Taschner uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Ellis to score. He would pick off pinch runner Rajai Davis at second base and got Chavez to fly out to left. But now the Giants were behind by three runs.

The A's got another gift in the ninth with runners on second and third, when Billy Sadler threw a wild pitch, allowing Carlos Gonzalez to score.

Brad Ziegler, Embree, and Keith Foulke bridged the seventh and eighth innings to Huston Street, who closed out the game in a non-save situation.








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 3 0 0 1 1 0 0 5 9 0
    SAN FRANCISCO 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - GREG SMITH, CHAD GAUDIN (6TH), KEITH FOULKE (8TH), HUSTON
    STREET (9TH) AND KURT SUZUKI
    SFO - BARRY ZITO, VINNIE CHULK (6TH), ALEX HINSHAW
    (7TH), PAT MISCH (9

    Jun 14 1:05 AM


  • ML
    AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JACK CUST SCORED MARK ELLIS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 5
    SAN FRANCISCO 1 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: E CHAVEZ (.283, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Athletics 5, Giants 1  Top 7, 0 OutsJun 14 12:18 AM


  • ML
    AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO DARIC BARTON SCORED JACK CUST.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D BARTON ON FIRST, K SUZUKI ON SECOND, C
    GONZALEZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 4
    SAN FRANCISCO 1 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: G SMITH (1.000, 1-FOR-1, SAC)

    Athletics 4, Giants 1  Top 6, 0 OutsJun 13 11:59 PM


  • ML
    AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ERIC CHAVEZ SCORED RYAN SWEENEY.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, E CHAVEZ ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    SAN FRANCISCO 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.262, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics 3, Giants 1  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 13 11:04 PM


  • ML
    AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JACK CUST SCORED MARK ELLIS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R SWEENEY ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2
    SAN FRANCISCO 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: E CHAVEZ (.273, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics 2, Giants 1  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 13 11:03 PM


  • ML
    AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN SWEENEY SCORED DARIC BARTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R SWEENEY ON FIRST, M ELLIS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1
    SAN FRANCISCO 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: J CUST (.253, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Athletics 1, Giants 1  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 13 11:01 PM


  • ML
    AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
    OMAR VIZQUEL STOLE HOME.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R WINN ON FIRST, B ZITO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    SAN FRANCISCO 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR SAN FRANCISCO: J CASTILLO (.265, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Athletics 0, Giants 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsJun 13 10:52 PM