<
>

Harden gives up six runs on eight hits

8/16/2003

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Last season was so dismal for Josh
Towers, he was just hoping to have a place to pitch this season --
winning was secondary.

Towers won as a starter for the first time in nearly two years
as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Oakland Athletics 8-5 Friday
night.

"After last year the first thing I wanted to do is get a job,"
Towers said. "After that I can worry about wins."

Towers (2-1) last won as a starter Aug. 17, 2001, at Boston when
he was with the Baltimore Orioles. Towers, a reliever before the
All-Star break, allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings
in his second start of the season. He struck out one and didn't
walk a batter.

Towers foundered in the Orioles organization last season, going
a combined 0-12 with an ERA just under 8.00 with Baltimore and
Triple-A Rochester. He was 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA for Baltimore.

"Two years is a long time," said Towers. "The way I looked at
it was I had to re-prove myself."

Eric Hinske hit two home runs and matched his career high with
four RBI and Chris Woodward also homered and drove in a pair of
runs for the Blue Jays, who won their second straight.

"In Seattle I was hitting a lot of balls hard right at
people," Hinske said. "I got my swing back up there and today I
was fortunate to get a couple of pitches I could handle."

Trever Miller pitched the ninth for his third save in four
chances.

Terrence Long and Erubiel Durazo homered for the A's, losers of
three in a row.

Rookie Rich Harden (3-2) lost his second consecutive start, his
worst outing in his brief major league career. He gave up six runs
-- matching what he allowed in his previous five starts combined --
on eight hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts.

Harden labored through two scoreless innings but couldn't fight
through the third, when the Blue Jays batted around and scored four
runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter to erase an early
deficit.

"I was out of whack mechanically," Harden said. "I didn't
feel great and my command wasn't there. It was pretty
frustrating."

Hinske, a former A's farmhand, hit his ninth homer of the year
after Reed Johnson beat out a bunt single. Hinske hit a 1-1
offering from Harden into the left-field bleachers.

"He's got nasty stuff," Hinske said. "He just needs to pitch.
I just put a good swing on it. That was a big home run."

Vernon Wells and Greg Myers singled and Frank Catalanotto was
hit by a pitch to load the bases. Harden walked Tom Wilson on five
pitches to force home a run and Orlando Hudson grounded out to
second to drive in another run.

Hinske's two-run homer in the fourth, on a 2-1 pitch from
Harden, made it 6-2.

Scott Hatteberg's RBI single in the second gave the A's their
early edge. Long's homer, his 14th, made it 4-2 and Durazo's 15th
homer, a solo shot in the fourth, brought the A's within 6-3.

Woodward's seventh homer, a two-run shot off relief pitcher John
Halama, padded the lead to 8-3 in the fifth.

Jose Guillen's hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Adam Melhuse
scored on a fielding error by Carlos Delgado in the seventh.<
^Notes:@Wells extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his
first-inning double. ... Blue Jays SS Mike Bordick was given the
night off one day after his career-high 20-game hitting streak was
stopped in Seattle. ... The Blue Jays won for the first time in 15
games when the opposition scored first. ... Harden threw 96
pitches, 54 strikes, in his four innings. ... Durazo was 1-for-11
with six strikeouts before singling and homering in his first two
at bats. ... A's 2B Mark Ellis has gone 17 games without driving in
a run.