Oakland lost 4-2 to Boston in 10 innings Thursday, falling one game behind the Red Sox for the AL wild card lead.
“Everybody said we had a big series coming up (with Boston),” Athletics manager Ken Macha said. “Well, we split, and now the next one is a big series.”
Harden has been outstanding since making his major league debut last month, striking out 30 in 32 innings and posting a 1.69 ERA in five starts. The right-hander, though, suffered his first loss in his last start, allowing two runs and six hits in five innings as the Blue Jays lost 5-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Miguel Tejada drove in a pair of runs Thursday for the A’s, who briefly took the wild card lead with victories on Monday and Tuesday. The A’s failed to win after carrying a lead into the ninth for the first time in 59 games this season—and the first time in 185 games overall.
Athletics designated hitter Erubiel Durazo got a day off, giving his bruised right knee a rest. Durazo has just one hit in his last 11 at-bats.
The Blue Jays had lost two straight and four of six.
Toronto shortstop Mike Bordick went 0-for-4 Thursday, ending his 20-game hitting streak. Bordick batted batting .376 (29-for-77) over his streak.
STANDINGS: Blue Jays - 3rd place, 13 GB, AL East. Athletics - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL West.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Josh Towers (1-1, 6.75 ERA). Towers struggled in his first start of the season, allowing four runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings as the Blue Jays lost 5-4 to the Texas Rangers on Sunday. The right-hander has allowed five home runs in 10 2-3 innings. Towers, though, has been fairly effective against Oakland in his career, going 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in three games.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Harden (3-1, 1.69 ERA). Harden failed to go six innings for the first time in five big league starts Sunday. In five innings, he allowed two runs and six hits and left after throwing 109 pitches. He struck out eight, including the side in the first, and walked one. Harden has not allowed a home run in 32 innings. This is his first appearance against Toronto.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Blue Jays - Vernon Wells, .310 avg.; Delgado, 32 HRs, 112 RBIs and 92 runs; Bobby Kielty, 6 SBs. Athletics - Eric Chavez, .272 avg. and 23 HRs; Tejada, 73 RBIs and 66 runs; Eric Byrnes, 9 SBs.
2002 SEASON SERIES: Blue Jays, 6-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Blue Jays - OF Frank Catalanotto is 3-for-6 with two home runs against RHP Towers. … Toronto recalled RHP Brian Bowles from Triple-A Syracuse, optioning RHP Corey Thurman to Syracuse. Athletics - Oakland OF Eric Byrnes is batting .095 (9-for-95) in 28 games since hitting for the cycle on June 29. … 1B Scott Hatteberg broke an 0-for-12 streak with his double Thursday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jays - 34-29 on the road; Athletics - 42-20 at home.
INJURIES: Blue Jays - RHP Cory Lidle (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Pete Walker (calf), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (calf), 60-day DL. Athletics - OF Jermaine Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL.