Willingham's Homerun Wins game for A's Again
W: Harden (3-2)
L: Cecil (4-5)
S: Bailey (14)
The A's are starting to find there swing on the road. It's better late than never I suppose. Rich Harden tossed his best game of the season, 7 innings of 1 run ball, and the Oakland Athletics have won three straight road games for the first time since April 9-11th. The A's used the longball and beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1.
Harden gave up a second inning home run to Edwin Encarnacion but pitched lights out after that. He also retired eight straight batters between the 4th and 6th inning. After walking Encarnacion, followed by a Cody Rasmus single, Harden was in a 1st and 3rd, no out jam to start the seventh inning. The dangerous Aaron Hill popped up to second, and strikeouts of J.J. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie ended Toronto's chance to take put runs on the board. Much to the liking of a very fired up Harden, who pitched seven innings, giving up a run on five hits, striking out eight on 107 pitches. Grant Balfour pitched a scoreless eighth, and Andrew Bailey picked up his 14th save of the season.
The A's used the longball to get on the board. Josh Willingham hit a two run homer of Cecil in the sixth inning to give the A's a 2-1 lead. It was his 18th of the season. Willingham finished 1-for-3. Kurt Suzuki added insurance with his tenth home run of the season in the seventh inning. He finished 2-for-4 on the night. Ryan Sweeney would bring in David DeJesus in the ninth inning with an RBI single. The A's and Blue Jays had six hits each.
Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar each had two hits for Toronto. Hill, Jose Bautista, and Adam Lind all went 0-for-4 in the ballgame.
Game two of the series will match Gio Gonzales (9-9 3.10 ERA) against Henderson Alvarez (Major League Debut). Alvarez has spend all of the 2011 Season in Double-A New Hampsire. Gio looks to rebound from what has been a poor second half where he has gone 1-4 in his last five starts.
Player Of The Game : Harden: 7 inn, 5 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8K, 107-71 Pitches/Strikes
Hedeki Matsui went 0-for-4 ending his 15 game hit streak. This marks the A's first three game road winning streak since April 9th-11th when they beat the Minnesota Twins (2 games) and the Chicago White Sox (1 game)