Series: Game 1 of 3

Toronto leads 1-0 (as of 8/15)

Game 1: Friday, August 15
Game 2: Saturday, August 16
Game 3: Sunday, August 17

Blue Jays 8

(61-61, 35-29 away)

Athletics 5

(69-53, 42-21 home)

    10:05 PM ET, August 15, 2003 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    TOR 004220000 8 11 1
    OAK 011110100 5 10 0

    W: J. Towers (2-1)

    L: R. Harden (3-2)

    S: T. Miller (3)

    Harden gives up six runs on eight hits

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press