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San Francisco suffers worst shutout loss ever

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Bobby Crosby batted in each of the first five innings for the first time in his career. Jason Kendall, Mark Kotsay and Eric Chavez also had plenty of chances and made the most of them.

All the while, Rich Harden waited patiently for Oakland's
offense to quit before going back to the mound every inning.

Nick Swisher hit a pair of two-run homers, Harden threw seven
innings of one-hit ball and the Athletics swept a three-game series
from the San Francisco Giants for the first time with a 16-0 win
Sunday.

"If you're on their side or on our side, you just forget about
it," Chavez said. "But you hope you're not on the other end of
it. There's nothing to look into this game. You can't gain anything
from it."

The A's matched the franchise record for largest margin of
shutout victory, most recently on May 23, 1959, against the White
Sox as the Kansas City A's. It broke the Oakland record for biggest
shutout win -- the previous was 15 on Aug. 30, 2001, at Baltimore.

It was the largest shutout defeat in San Francisco history and
matched its biggest loss, which last happened in a 19-3 home defeat
against Montreal on May 7, 1997. The Giants also lost to the Cubs
15-0 on Aug. 22, 1970.

"I don't feel sorry for any team," Crosby said.

Afterward, in his office, Felipe Alou fiddled with his briefcase
and pondered another embarrassing defeat.

"I don't have an explanation," said the 70-year-old San
Francisco manager who's seen almost everything during his five
decades in baseball. "Anybody here could explain that. How many
hits? ... How many runs?"

Swisher hit a two-run shot in the fourth and another in the
fifth for his seventh and eighth of the year and second career
multihomer game. The rookie outfielder hit his first homer
left-handed for his first opposite-field shot this season and the
next right-handed -- two pitches after the umpire warned both
benches when Jason Christiansen threw near Swisher's feet and he
danced out of the way.

It marked the first time an A's player homered from both sides
of the plate in one game since Ruben Sierra on June 7, 1994,
against Milwaukee. Manager Ken Macha said it was "encouraging" to
see Swisher homer to the opposite field.

"When you get in the box, you're not thinking about anything,"
said Swisher, who recently took the advice of Kendall and hitting
coach Dave Hudgens to stand up more in the batter's box.

Swisher has five homers in his last nine games after connecting
for a three-run shot in Saturday's win. Kendall and Dan Johnson
each drove in three runs, and the A's tied an Oakland record with
eight doubles.

Harden (4-3), making his second start since coming off the
disabled list last Tuesday, didn't allow a hit until Deivi Cruz's
broken-bat single with one out in the fifth. He struck out three
and walked one in a 76-pitch performance.

Ron Flores and Kiko Calero finished the one-hitter, continuing
Oakland's recent run of dominant pitching.

Harden missed more than a month with a strained stomach muscle.

"It was kind of my goal to come back stronger than when I
left," he said.

It was the team's first one-hitter since Cory Lidle threw one in
Cleveland on Aug. 21, 2002. Harden combined with three other
pitchers on a two-hitter last year against Texas.

Oakland, which began the day out of last place in the AL West
for the first time since May 20, won for the eighth time in nine
games and 11th in 14, impressing the sellout crowd of 44,633 with
its consistent hitting throughout the order.

The A's have won their last five series and seven of eight after
winning only five of their first 17. They are 18-8 in 26 games
since May 30, the third-best record in the majors during that span.

Crosby and Kotsay each drove in two runs, and six of the A's
nine starters had hits after two innings -- Crosby already had two.
The team's runs and hits (24) were season highs, and the hits were
its most since 2000.

Kendall's second-inning double was his first RBI in June, and it
snapped a career-long 20-game stretch without driving in a run. He
added an RBI single in the third and doubled again in the fourth.

Oakland took four of six meetings in the Bay Bridge Series.
After dropping two of three at SBC Park in May, the A's got strong
starts from Joe Blanton and Dan Haren in the first two games of
this series, and Harden's victory improved the starters to 8-0 in
their last nine games.

The Giants never seemed in it mentally.

Brett Tomko (5-10) lost his third straight decision and hasn't
won since beating the Mets at Shea Stadium on June 5. He lasted
just 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year.

"It's not just the game," Tomko said. "It's been a rough
three weeks for me. There's not a whole lot I can say about it. I
have to try to regroup and get after it."

The Giants didn't have an error -- about the only thing that went
right -- a day after making an uncharacteristic five.

Game notes
Tomko started against the A's for the first time since May
13, 2000, when he won for Seattle. ... Oakland has allowed three or
fewer runs in each of its last nine games. ... Swisher also hit two
homers April 6 at Baltimore.