Halladay beats Sox, but no complete game
Early offence, controversial call give Jays early lead they never relinquished
Roy Halladay missed on his try for five straight complete games, but he'll take the win, thanks.
The Toronto Blue Jays' ace threw 7 1/3 innings of three-hit ball to lead the home side to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday at Rogers Centre, improving the Jays' record to 15-17 in the AL East.
That's four wins in a row — including three consecutive against the White Sox — for the Jays, who are 4-0 for May after a lousy 11-17 April. And it breaks off a string of three consecutive complete game losses for Halladay, who improves to 3-4.
The Jays and White Sox wrap up their four-game set on Monday night (7:07 p.m. ET) as Toronto's Dustin McGowan takes the hill against Chicago's Javier Vazquez.
Jesse Carlson got the final two-outs in the eighth Sunday, while Jeremy Accardo and Scott Downs handled the ninth.
"I'd rather go five innings and get a win," Halladay said afterwards, smiling, "than go nine and lose."
Chicago dropped to 14-15 in the Central Division despite a solid outing by Jose Contreras, who fell to 2-3 on the year.
Again the Jays got on the board first by putting a couple of doubles together — first by Matt Stairs and then by Aaron Hill, bringing designated-hitter Stairs home to make it 1-0.
Helped by a controversial non-call, Toronto added three more in the third.
Gregg Zaun singled and was followed by an Alex Rios double that put runners on second and third.
David Eckstein sent a ball to short that Orlando Cabrera scooped up on the baseline just as Rios bumped into him heading back to second. They got the hitter at first but the Sox argued Rios should have been called out for interference.
The umpires disagreed. (The replay showed the Sox had a point).
With two down, Stairs doubled to right-centre, bringing home Zaun and Rios, and Wells followed with a single, bringing Stairs in to make it 4-0.
Trouble for Doc
Halladay sailed through the first three innings, facing the minimum nine hitters on four strikeouts, four ground balls and a flyout.
But in the fourth, Nick Swisher bounced one over the fence in centre field for a ground-rule double. Cabrera grounded to shortstop, but Eckstein threw it away and that put two on with none out.
A single by Jim Thome scored Swisher, a double by Paul Konerko brought home Cabrera and a groundout by A.J. Pierzynski plated Thome to make it 4-3.
Joe Crede flew out to end the threat.
Halladay settled back down from there, retiring the final 11 hitters he faced until manager John Gibbons came out to get him with one out in the eighth.
He left having given up just one earned run on three hits and seven strikeouts, leading 4-3.
"It's never easy taking [Halladay] out, but you have to do what you think is right," said Gibbons, who felt Swisher was seeing Halladay well. "Then you hope like hell it works."
Jesse Carlson struck out two, sandwiched around a harmless double, to end the eighth.
If Halladay had gone nine, he would have been the first pitcher with five-straight complete games since Curt Schilling accomplished the feat in 1999.