Roy Halladay opened the season winless in his first six starts. Now, he’s on the brink of establishing a record winning streak.
“I’ve been saying it all along—it says more about the team.” Halladay said. In those eight games, there have been three or four where they bailed me out and scored a lot of runs for me.”
The 26-year-old right-hander enjoyed a breakout season in 2002, going 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA, striking out 168 and walking 62 over 239 1-3 innings.
However, he struggled at the beginning of this season, laboring through his first six starts and posting an 0-2 record with a 4.86 ERA.
Halladay, though, got his season turned around quickly. He boasts a 3.42 ERA during his winning streak and tied former Blue Jays ace Roger Clemens with eight straight wins with Friday’s 9-2 win over the Cincinnati. Halladay allowed two runs—one earned—and eight hits over eight innings, striking out seven and walking two.
“Outstanding,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said of his ace. “He just continues to show you why he is what he is.”
The Blue Jays have won three of four, including Tuesday’s 13-8 rout in the opening game of the set.
Delgado, who leads the majors with 70 RBIs, reached 20 home runs for a club-record eighth time—surpassing Joe Carter’s mark of seven. He also became the fastest Toronto player to reach 70 RBIs, doing it in 64 games.
Pirates third baseman Aramis Ramirez had two hits, including a two-run homer, to stretch his career-high hitting streak to 21 games. He is hitting .438 (39-for-89) during the run, raising his average from .218 to a team-leading .303.
Brian Giles, who has reached base in 13 of his last 15 plate appearances, homered and went 3-for-4 for Pittsburgh, which has dropped six of seven.
STANDINGS: Pirates - 5th place (tied), 9 1/2 GB, NL Central. Blue Jays - 3rd place, 2 GB, AL East.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff D’Amico (4-6, 4.03 ERA). D’Amico has allowed a combined 10 runs over 13 innings in losing two straight. The 27-year-old right-hander surrendered five runs and seven hits over six innings of last Wednesday’s 8-3 disappointment to Boston, striking our three and walking two. D’Amico is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Halladay (8-2, 4.13 ERA). Halladay has limited opponents to a .272 average and a .308 on-base percentage, while striking out 76 and walking just 16 in 98 innings this season. He makes his first career start against Pittsburgh.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Ramirez, .303 avg.; Kenny Lofton, 42 runs and 12 SBs; Reggie Sanders, 8 HRs; Randall Simon, 37 RBIs. Blue Jays - Frank Catalanotto, .333 avg.; Delgado, 20 HRs, 70 RBIs and 58 runs; Hudson, 4 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE: Pirates - 1-3; Blue Jays - 3-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - OF Matt Stairs, activated from the DL before the game, finished 2-for-3. He had been on the DL since May 22 with a torn ligament in his right index finger. … With the Blue Jays’ four homers Tuesday, opponents have now homered a season-high eight straight games against Pittsburgh pitchers, including 12 in the last three contests. … Through the first seven games this month, Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has posted a 6.75 ERA. It posted a 3.43 ERA in March/April and a 5.04 ERA in May. Blue Jays - RHP Halladay’s eight-game win streak is the longest in the majors this season. … 1B Delgado leads all players with 34 career interleague homers and 99 RBIs. … The Blue Jays lead the majors with 405 total runs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 16-15 on the road; Blue Jays - 15-14 at home.
INJURIES: Pirates - RHP Mike Lincoln (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL. Blue Jays - INF Eric Hinske (hand), 15-day DL; OF Shannon Stewart (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Pete Walker (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL.