Harden is coming off his shakiest performance of the season, but escaped without a decision as the Athletics rallied for a 9-7 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old right-hander, who entered the game with a 15-inning scoreless streak, was roughed up for six runs and nine hits in just 5 1-3 innings. He had allowed just one run and struck out 21 in 20 1-3 innings for a 2-0 mark in his first three starts.
“It was just one of those nights,” said Harden, who is trying to build on a breakout season in 2004, when he went 11-7 with a 3.99 ERA in 31 starts for Oakland. “Things weren’t going well and I didn’t have my command.”
The Athletics improved to 4-2 on their nine-game homestand after winning two in a row against the Seattle Mariners. Erubiel Durazo hit a two-run double and left-hander Barry Zito threw seven strong innings for his first win since Sept. 12 in the A’s 3-2 victory Sunday.
Durazo is batting .455 (10-for-22) in the last six games.
The Rangers are hoping that veteran Kenny Rogers can produce another solid start at McAfee Coliseum. The 40-year-old lefty, who played for the As from 1998-99, is 20-4 with a 3.56 ERA there in 51 career games, including 40 starts.
Rogers threw six shutouts innings and finally got some run support to post his first win of the season in an 8-2 victory over the Mariners on Wednesday. Texas, which had scored just three runs in three of his first four starts this season, scored five runs in the first inning.
“We jumped out there and gave Kenny something to work with, something he hasn’t had,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s got some starts this year that he should have gotten a ‘W.”’