Harden strikes out 11 in A's win

June 26, 2008 3:52:44 PM PDT
Rich Harden struck out a career-high 11, allowing two hits in eight innings to lead the Oakland Athletics over the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 Thursday. Harden (5-0) retired his first 14 batters before Shane Victorino singled cleanly into center field. Victorino got Philadelphia's other hit off Harden, an infield single with one out in the eighth.

Harden's previous strikeouts high was 10 against Tampa Bay on Aug. 31, 2003. He is the first A's pitcher to start a season 5-0 since Billy Koch in 2002, and he improved to 18-3 in 29 starts when pitching at least seven innings.

Sidetracked by injuries during much of his career, Harden has made nine consecutive turns in the rotation for the first time in three years. He had not pitched eight innings since April 21, 2006, against the Los Angeles Angels.

Alan Embree completed the three-hitter, allowing Pat Burrell's two-out triple before retiring Ryan Howard on a groundout.

NL East-leading Philadelphia has lost seven of eight. Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins struck out three times and made his first error in 40 games when he mishandled a grounder in the seventh.

Carlos Gonzalez homered for Oakland, which has won three of its last four series.

Adam Eaton (2-6) dropped to 0-4 in nine road games, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings.

Oakland's first three batters reached: Mark Ellis walked and scored on an RBI double by Ryan Sweeney, who came around on Jack Cust's single. Sweeney then left the game due to a sprained left ankle.

Gonzalez homered for a 3-0 lead in the sixth. Jack Hannahan doubled in a run in the eighth against Tom Gordon and scored on an error by Victorino in center.