One team has never beaten Roy Halladay four times in a season at any point in his career. Finally, against the Tampa Bay Rays, he showed his form, which earned him the Cy Young in 2003.
The Jays got their fourth victory in their thirteen meetings against the front-running Rays, but a decisive looking 6-2 score does not tell the whole story. Halladay who has a 0-3 record against the Rays, picked up his 16th win of the season and first against Tampa. Halladay had a strong outing, but had to work for the win, going through six tough innings, allowing six hits and two runs on a 111 pitches. Halladay departed after the sixth and Jays management left the game in the reliable hands of the bullpen. Jesse Carlson, Brandon League, Scott Downs, and closer B.J. Ryan, combined to shut the Rays down on one hit over the next three innings. Offensively, the Jays were again led by the resurgence of Vernon Wells who over his last seven games is on fire hitting .385, with 4 homeruns and 9 RBI’s. Wells led the Jays with a homerun and 3 RBI’s and was complemented by Lyle Overbay’s 2 RBIs. On the other end of the spectrum, Tampa made the Halladay and Jays work for their win, keeping the game close until the sixth, when Jamie Shields was chased from the game after giving up four earned runs in six plus innings. Coincidently it was former Toronto Blue Jays rookie of the year Eric Hinkse who was responsible for the Rays only production, with a 2-out, 2-run single in the home half of the sixth.
Game two turned out to be an amazing pitchers duel and in the end, it was the Rays that got the upper hand. David Purcey, one of the Jays newest rookie pitchers had the game of his life, and more of the tough luck that has come his way. Purcey’s first career complete game and fourth loss in his last five outings had some had some stellar moments. On eight of his eleven strikeouts, he used fewer than four pitches. In addition, Purcey did not give up a free pass, thus becoming the second American League pitcher this season to have eleven or more strikeouts with zero walks and became the first Blue Jay rookie to strikeout eleven batters in a game. The lone error of the night came in the fourth inning, when Carlos Pena hit his 27th big fly of the year. That one run was all the Rays needed as they defeated the Jays 1-0. Matt Garza on the other hand, has been, let’s say, dominant against the team from the north. In 30 innings against the Jays this season, Garza (11-7) has given up one run. Tonight was no different, scattering six hits.
Thursday night’s game epitomized the year that the Jays are having; great pitching, no hitting. Jesse Litsch, in his second appearance since being recalled from the minors on August 12, made his tenth quality start of the season. Having not given up a run in the past thirteen innings, anyone would have liked those odds. That is, except the Rays. Two bad pitches, a 0-1 hanging breaking ball to Cliff Floyd, and an 0-2 sinker, which didn’t sink, that Willie Aybar deposited into the right-centre stands, were the deciding factors in the Rays 3-2 victory. Edwin Jackson, who hurled seven strong innings combined with a decent outing from Rays pen, got the job done. Toronto’s late inning charge, led by RBI singles from Adam Lind and Rod Barajas were all for naught as Dan Wheeler closed out the game getting his 10th save of the year.
Up next for Toronto is the last trip to Yankee Stadium before the move. The Yankees who are coming off big come from behind win over the Boston Red Sox, are looking to jump back into the Wild Card race. Toronto who is now nine games back, are likely playing spoiler, and what better way to get things going by defeating the Yankees $38 million dollar man Carl Pavano…..
On deck for the next three games are as follows;
By Devon Teeple
MLBcenter.com Toronto Blue Jays Correspondent
Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is also a intern with the Football Outsiders and collaborator with the Plymouth River Eels. Devon is available as a freelance writer and be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com