Wells injured, Halladay chased in Jays loss to Indians
Toronto off to dark start on 10-game road trip
A Friday night horror show in Cleveland left the Toronto Blue Jays with a battered star outfielder, a beaten ace pitcher and a bad loss to start a long road trip.
The Indians scored six runs in the seventh inning, four off the previously outstanding Roy Halladay, on the way to a 6-1 victory on the shores of Lake Erie.
Even worse, centre-fielder Vernon Wells left the game with what turned out to be a jammed left wrist and a tight right hamstring after landing hard while making an outstanding catch in the sixth inning.
"I felt a little something as soon as I left my feet," said Wells. "I hit the ground pretty hard. I couldn't breathe. From top to bottom, I didn't feel too good. I've never injured my wrist before so I don't know what to expect."
Toronto manager John Gibbons said Wells is scheduled to have an MRI and would not play Saturday night.
Toronto drops to 16-19 this season on the first of a 10-day, 10-game road trip that also goes through Minnesota and Philadelphia. Halladay took the loss and falls to 3-5.
C.C. Sabathia, who had struggled terribly this year after being the American League's top pitcher in 2007, found his form, giving up just one run on four hits and striking out nine in seven innings.
He improved to 2-5 on the year as Cleveland moved to one game below .500 at 17-18.
Wells' injury at least came with some reinforcements in the lineup.
Toronto brought in two outfielders on Friday: Kevin Mench, for cash, from the Texas organization where he had been playing triple-A, and Brad Wilkerson, from the Seattle Mariners, who had designated the veteran for reassignment.
Roy falls apart
After an excellent start, Halladay began to show cracks in the middle innings, putting the first hitter on in the fifth and sixth, only to get back out of trouble and keep it 1-0.
He went to that well one too many times, however, allowing a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with none out in the seventh.
"The walk killed me," Halladay said. "I got caught up in trying to field the bunt and I never made a quality pitch. It was a dumb mistake. That's what changed the game."
Casey Blake, with a .214 average and two earlier strikeouts, golfed one to left that bounced off the wall, scoring Travis Hafner and pinch-runner Jamey Carroll to make it 2-1 and send Halladay to the bench.
"We've been struggling to score for C.C. and to be able to do it feels good," said Blake.
Lefty Jesse Carlson came on for Halladay, getting an out and dealing an intentional walk.
Cleveland then pinch hit with right-hander Ben Francisco, sending Toronto manager John Gibbons back to his bullpen for righty Jeremy Accardo.
That didn't work, as Francisco pounded one off the left-field wall to bring in two more runs that made it 4-1. A wild pitch scored Franklin Gutierrez and it was 5-1.
Jhonny Peralta's sacrifice fly brought Francisco home for 6-1.
Vernon lays himself out
Wells' injury came with Grady Sizemore on first and none out in the sixth. Gutierrez hit a high, dying quail to short centre field that the Toronto star came racing in on, finally diving slightly to his left to nab it just off the grass.
As Wells came down, he landed on his glove hand and it forced his left wrist back against itself. After a visit from trainer George Poulis, Wells came out of the game, replaced in the order by Shannon Stewart.
Halladay got out of the inning unscathed.
Hurlers dominate early
The game started as a classic pitcher's battle, with Halladay and Sabathia dominating the proceedings through four innings.
Sabathia was looking like his old self in the early going, striking out five of the first eight hitters he faced, including three straight to end the second.
But it was the Cleveland lefty who blinked first, in a Toronto fifth that could have been so much more.
Rod Barajas, a career .364 hitter against Sabathia, led off with a double high off the wall in left-centre. Wilkerson sacrificed to send Barajas to third, and Marco Scutaro, .417 against the southpaw, came through with a single to right-centre that brought Barajas home for a 1-0 lead.
An out later, Aaron Hill doubled into the left-field corner but an excellent fielding play and relay held Scutaro at third. Scott Rolen grounded out to end the threat.
Sabathia was in trouble again in the seventh when Wilkerson, with his first hit as a Jay, and Scutaro reached base on one out. But Sabathia struck out Alex Rios and Hill to end the inning.
Halladay, meanwhile, cruised through the first five innings on eight strikeouts and was only in trouble once in that span.
Hafner doubled to lead off the fifth but the Toronto ace hunkered down to get a ground out and two strikeouts.
With files from the Associated Press