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

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 Philadelphia 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.

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.

Swisher has five homers in the last nine games after connecting for a three-run shot in Saturday’s win. Jason 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.

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.

Bobby Crosby and Mark 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.

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

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.

AP-ES-06-26-05 1835EDT


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