Rich Harden strikes out six and wins in season debut

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Baseball truly is a wonderful game.

– Rich Harden, making his first start for the A’s since July 6, 2008, went six innings without walking a batter to defeat the Diamondbacks in his season debut.  It’s just the 10th time in 146 career starts that he’s pitched at least six innings and not walked a batter.  He walked two batters every three innings for the Rangers last season.

– Hideki Matsui beat Miguel Montero’s errant throw to second base to record his first steal since Sept. 12, 2007.

– Wily Mo Pena, who was playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish a year ago, delivered a line-drive homer for the Diamondbacks, giving him four homers in seven starts and three pinch-hitting appearances since his callup.

– Batting one spot below him was Sean Burroughs, who was even further removed from the majors than Pena a year ago.  He was eating out of trash cans in Las Vegas.

OK, so Burroughs went 0-for-3.  He might end up back in the minors next week.  Pena could join him there a couple of weeks later.  Harden will surely return to the DL at some point.

But tonight was cool, and it served as a good reminder to never count anyone out.

Odúbel Herrera has homered in four consecutive games

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Phillies outfielder Odúbel Herrera produced what proved to be the game-winning hit on Wednesday afternoon, drilling a go-ahead solo home run to right field off of Cardinals reliever Sam Tuivailala in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Phillies went on to win 4-3, as the bullpen actually held on to a lead for once.

Herrera has now homered in four consecutive games and in five of his last six contests. The major league record is eight consecutive games with a home run, held by Don Mattingly, Dale Long, and Ken Griffey, Jr. The Phillies record is five consecutive games with a homer, held by Dick Allen, Mike Schmidt, Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley (twice), and Rhys Hoskins.

On the season, Herrera is batting .299/.355/.491 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI, and 35 runs scored in 297 plate appearances.