for this game

Harden blanks Phillies as A's win series

Jun 27, 2008 - 12:55 AM By Al Barba PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Rich Harden appears to be back to the form that earned him a reputation as one of baseball's top pitchers.

After being slowed by injuries the past three seasons, Harden turned in a dominating performance Thursday, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Harden (5-0) limited the struggling Phillies to just two hits and one walk while recording a career-high 11 strikeouts in a season-high eight innings.

"That's been my goal, to go deeper into games and be more efficient with my pitches," Harden said. "In the past, I always had that one inning where I kind of lost my command and ended up throwing a lot of pitches which cost me a couple of innings. I really wanted to focus on my command and not velocity and get ahead (in the count)."

Shane Victorino had both of the Phillies' hits, including a two-out single in the fifth that broke up Harden's no-hit bid.

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

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was equally impressed.

"Harden was good," Manuel said. "Victorino hit a bloop single to center, he got a chopper for a hit and I can't remember us hitting a ball hard against him. He had good separation on his pitches, could take his fastball up to 97, and could also throw his splitter or change-up in the low 80s."

Harden gave way to Alan Embree in the ninth after throwing 95 pitches.

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

The Phillies lost for the seventh time in their last eight games and were held to two or fewer runs for the sixth time in their last eight contests.

"We've had some games lately against Boston and the Angels where we've run into some really good pitching. But today, Harden was really good," Manuel said. "We're trying to get things going, but today, we got beat by a better pitcher."

The Athletics grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning as the first three batters reached base against Adam Eaton. Mark Ellis walked to open the frame, Ryan Sweeney followed with a double to left-center field and Jack Cust capped the scoring with an RBI single to right field.

Sweeney's first-inning double marked his only plate appearance of the afternoon as he left the game in the top of the second after suffering a sprained left ankle.

Harden's performance overshadowed a quality outing by Eaton (2-6), who suffered his third straight loss. Eaton pitched seven innings, allowing three runs and six hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

"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 eight-ball. Harden really had no-hit stuff. He had our number."

After the slow start, Eaton settled down and retired 10 in a row before Bobby Crosby doubled down the left field line with one out in the fourth. He worked out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the fifth by striking out Eric Chavez and retiring Bobby Crosby on a foul out.

Carlos Gonzalez added to Oakland's lead with a sixth-inning home run, and the Athletics picked up a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning against reliever Tom Gordon.








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

    BATTERIES: PHI - ADAM EATON, TOM GORDON (8TH) AND CARLOS RUIZ
    OAK - RICH HARDEN, ALAN EMBREE (9TH) AND ROB BOWEN

    HOME RUNS: PHI - NONE
    OAK - CARLOS GONZALEZ (2) OFF ADAM EATO

    Jun 26 5:51 PM


  • ML
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY SHANE VICTORINO ALLOWED JACK HANNAHAN TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 0
    OAKLAND 5 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D BARTON (.223, 0-FOR-3)

    Phillies 0, Athletics 5  Bot 8, 0 OutsJun 26 5:41 PM


  • ML
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JACK HANNAHAN SCORED ERIC CHAVEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J HANNAHAN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 0
    OAKLAND 4 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: C GONZALEZ (.244, 1-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Phillies 0, Athletics 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsJun 26 5:39 PM


  • ML
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS GONZALEZ (2) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF ADAM EATON.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 0, OAKLAND 3
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D BARTON (.224, 0-FOR-2)

    Phillies 0, Athletics 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsJun 26 5:03 PM
  • 5
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 43 roots

    Phillies 0, Athletics 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 26 4:35 PM
  • 48
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 43 roots (No-hitter)

    Phillies 0, Athletics 2  Top 5, 0 OutsJun 26 4:29 PM
  • 5
    roots
    undertaker Added 5 roots

    Phillies 0, Athletics 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 26 4:24 PM


  • ML
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACK CUST SCORED RYAN SWEENEY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J CUST ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 0
    OAKLAND 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: E CHAVEZ (.269, 2 HR, 12 RBI)

    Phillies 0, Athletics 2  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 26 3:48 PM


  • ML
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY RYAN SWEENEY SCORED MARK ELLIS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R SWEENEY ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 0
    OAKLAND 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: J CUST (.240, 12 HR, 37 RBI)

    Phillies 0, Athletics 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 26 3:46 PM