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A's

Harden Wins In Season Debut, A’s Defeat Diamondbacks

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Rich Harden #18 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning during a MLB baseball game July 1, 2011 in Oakland. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Rich Harden #18 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning during a MLB baseball game July 1, 2011 in Oakland. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Rich Harden pitched six strong innings in his season debut, Hideki Matsui had two RBIs and the Oakland Athletics beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 on Friday night.

Ryan Sweeney, Coco Crisp and Cliff Pennington each drove in a run for the A’s, who won for the third time in 10 games following a four-game winning streak. Crisp also robbed Gerardo Parra of a homer and Matsui picked up his first steal since Sept. 12, 2007, for the New York Yankees at Toronto.

Kelly Johnson and Wily Mo Pena homered for the Diamondbacks, who have dropped five of six to fall three games back of NL West-leading San Francisco.

Arizona starter Josh Collmenter (4-5) lasted just 4 2-3 innings, yielding five runs and seven hits. The rookie right-hander is 0-4 with a 7.54 ERA in his last four outings and hasn’t won since he beat Washington on June 3.

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Harden, who was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list earlier in the day, allowed two runs and four hits in his first start for Oakland in three years. The oft-injured right-hander struck out six and walked none.

Andrew Bailey worked the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

Pena’s two-out homer in the second gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead. It was his fourth of the season in a span of 10 games. He hit two in 64 games for the Washington Nationals in 2008, the last time he was in the majors.

Matsui walked, stole second and scored on Sweeney’s two-out single in the fourth, and Oakland chased Collmenter with three consecutive two-out RBI hits in the fifth. David DeJesus and Scott Sizemore each singled with one out. After Jemile Weeks flew out, Pennington and Crisp each singled home a run and Matsui doubled home two more.

Stephen Drew singled in a run in the sixth for Arizona, and Johnson’s two-run shot cut it to 5-4 in the eighth. But the Diamondbacks’ rally fizzled.

Crisp took a home run away from Parra leading off the sixth. He reached over the fence to pull in the 400-foot fly, and Parra responded by tipping his helmet toward the center fielder.

Harden retired 16 of his first 18 hitters before Johnson doubled and scored on Drew’s hit.

Harden has had trouble staying healthy for most of his career. He just finished his 10th visit to the disabled list, and hasn’t pitch a full season since 2004.

NOTES: The A’s also recalled RHP Fautino De Los Santos from Triple-A Sacramento, optioned RHP Trystan Magnuson to Sacramento and designated LHP Bobby Cramer for assignment. … Arizona promoted INF Sean Burroughs from Triple-A Reno, reinstated RHP Sam Demel from the DL and placed RHP J.J. Putz on the DL. … A’s manager Bob Melvin announced a one-time six-man rotation to protect Harden. Josh Outman, Gio Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy (currently on the DL with a stress reaction), Trevor Cahill and Guillermo Moscoso will follow the righty. … Drew has reached safely in 16 of his last 17 road games.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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