Jays win 6th straight series
At 14-6, Toronto has the best record in the majors
Ace Roy Halladay didn't have his best stuff, but he got the job done as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the White Sox 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
"He really battled today," catcher Rod Barajas said. "His curveball wasn't as consistent and his cutter wasn't as good as we would like it. So we needed to get kind of tricky out there, and we were able to switch things up a bit and get the guys out."
Halladay (4-1) was shaky to begin the game, giving up three straight hits in the first inning. He got out of the inning allowing only one run, but then ran into trouble again in the third, giving up a two-run double to Paul Konerko.
But the Jays ace settled down and retired 12 of the next 14 batters he faced. Halladay lasted seven innings, scattering eight hits and giving up three runs. He also had six strikeouts to go with only one walk in picking his first career win in Chicago.
"You hate to give up a lead like I did today but I think I know more than ever I feel like, especially early in the game, we have a chance to get it back," Halladay said.
"That's nice when you give up those leads to know that if you stay in it and keep grinding, you've got a chance to get it back. That's something that we didn't do as much last year but have done a lot of it this year, getting those runs, especially later in the game. It's a big confidence builder."
Third baseman Scott Rolen drove in the winning run in the eighth inning with a single off White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink (0-1), who replaced starter Jose Contreras.
Vernon Wells opened the eighth for Toronto with a leadoff double, and Adam Lind reached base with a walk, setting the table for Rolen.
Contreras, who struggled with control problems in his previous starts, was solid in seven innings of work, giving up three runs on eight hits — walking only one batter. But the White Sox bullpen was tagged with the loss after Linebrink struggled in the eighth.
The Jays relievers were nearly flawless. Jason Frasor and Jesse Carlson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Scott Downs tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his second save of the season.
Once again, Toronto got production from the entire lineup, with everyone except Lyle Overbay picking up at least one hit. Second baseman Aaron Hill extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first inning. Barajas was 3-for-4, boosting his batting average to .286.
The Jays (14-6) have now won their first six series of the season for the first time in franchise history and have the best record in the majors. Toronto has won eight of its last 11 games.
"It feels great," Barajas said. "We know the media was expecting us to finish in the bottom part of the East, so it's nice to fly under the radar."