W: Harden (1-0)
L: Collmenter (4-5)
S: Bailey (7)
Rich Harden looked like he did in 2007 before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. That might be the best thing for the Oakland Athletics chances of winning the division.
Harden pitched six innings while striking out six as the A's used three two out hits to pull away from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 5-4 victory Friday night. Rich Harden, put in the rotation on Friday, kept his pitch count down while only giving up two runs on four hits. His only mistake in the ballgame was a change-up in the second inning that Willy Mo Pena crushed for his fourth homer of the season.
Clutch hitting helped Harden's cause as the A's scored all five of their runs with two outs. Ryan Sweeney got the scoring started with a two out bloop single, after Hideki Matsui stole his first base in nearly 4 years, tying the game at one. Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp had RBI singles with two outs in the fourth inning. Matsui would deliver the deciding blow, a two run double that not only gave the A's insurance, but chased D-Backs starting pitcher Josh Collmenter.
Collmenter looked sharp early before giving up four runs in the fourth inning, all with two outs. He went 4.2 innings with 7 hits, 5 runs, and 5 strikeouts. But the night belonged to the Oakland A's.
Brian Fuentes gave up a two run homer to Kelly Johnson in the eighth inning, Johnson's 14th of the season, while getting one out before Joey Devine got the final two in the inning. Brad Ziegler struck out two in his inning of work, and Andrew "Boom Boom" Bailey tossed a perfect ninth inning for his seventh save in a row.
The A's ended a four game losing streak while staying seven games back of Texas, who crushed the Florida Marlins 15-5 earlier in the evening.
Player of the game: Rich Harden 6 in, 2 r, 4 h, 6 k, 0 bb