Europe didn't gain further ground on the United States - but more importantly didn't lose any - one the second day of the 33rd Ryder Cup Matches at The Country Club, Brookline.
The second series of foursomes were shared 2-2, leaving the Europeans 8-4 ahead at lunch and still four points ahead of the Americans in their quest to win the trophy for the third time in succession.
Once again, the imperious partnership of Sergio Garcia and Jesper Parnevik worked the oracle. They overcame US Open champion Payne Stewart and Justin Leonard by 3 and 2 to retain their 100 per cent record in the event with three wins.
Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke, narrowly beaten in their first game but victors over Tiger Woods and David Duval in the afternoon, stayed on top form to record an impressive 3 and 2 win over Jim Furyk and Mark O'Meara.
Those points ensured that the Europeans would not allow the Americans the chance to close the gap, and so a spell it seemed that further points might follow.
However it was not to be, as Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie were hit by an American pairing of Jeff Maggert and Hal Sutton which recorded four successive threes to finish.
That gave the States a one hole win after Maggert hit his nine iron 'stiff' at the 18th, much to the disappointment of Europe's No.1 and the reigning Open champion.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, stunned by four straight birdies by Tiger Woods and Steve Pate, recovered to stand level with five holes to play. However the Europeans missed a wonderful chance to square the tie at the 17th when Harrington's approach somehow failed to spin off the slope back to the pin.
Montgomerie said: "They finished with two huge birdies at the last two - actually they finished with four threes so fair play to them for that. They need pumping up because they're losing and they're losing heavily.
"I've never been part of a team like this before. We all want to play, we all want to be there, we all want to win so, so badly for our Tour and I've never seen a team like this ever before. This is fantastic and I really do want to win this thing, I really do."
Lawrie added: "They made everything - everything they looked at went in. People were talking about how little they made, but they just kept making putts all day.
"At the 14th I missed a five footer to go one up and it was a different game then. Monty 'stiffed' it at the next and they halved, then I made a lovely putt at the 17th and couldn't believe it didn't go in. I had a poor shot at the 18th and if I had hit a better one they might not have stiffed it."
The Garcia- Parnevik pairing has worked out supremely well and the teenage Spaniard reflected: "We played well again and got four up and had a little problem at the 12th. We hung on in there. Jesper is unbelievable. I am so confident that Jesper is going to hit good shots and make good putts - it's just perfect."
Parnevik added: "Every time I needed Sergio he was right there. At the 14th today I needed him. Everybody thinks four up is a huge gap but it's not. Anybody can make two birdies and it's a different game. You can easily make three birdies in a row and you have to hang in there. Everybody knows Sergio is just 19 but he's so mature."
Harrington couldn't hide his disappointment after his ball stopped on the slope at the 17th and said: "I got robbed at the 17th. I couldn't believe it when the ball stopped on the slope. It was obvious it would have been stone dead if it had rolled back. I couldn't believe it. That was an important point at the end of the game."
Reflecting on a share of the series at 2-2, European skipper Mark James was satisfied to remain four points clear. He said: "I am happy to maintain our lead. We achieved our objective to play some more good golf today and to win points they had to play well.
"They know what they are up against and we know what we are up against. It's not a question of relying on big guns. I have a feeling that some players are playing slightly better than others and are slightly more capable of shooting lower.
"It's a very narrow margin and I'm going with those players because they are doing a good job. To change tactics would be dangerous. It's something we've all discussed. I think we're happy doing what we're doing."