The Yankees will look for a 10th win in 13 games as they try to reverse their recent history against Halladay when they meet the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
New York (46-44) won 6-4 on Monday in the opener of this four-game set to continue its strong recent play. The Yankees, though, still trail first-place Boston by nine games in the AL East, and are seven games behind Cleveland for the wild card.
Halladay (10-4, 4.66 ERA) is 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA in his last nine starts against New York, which has lost eight of those games. He has struck out 44 and walked only five Yankees in that span.
The right-hander hasn’t faced New York yet in 2007.
Alex Rodriguez is just 2-for-13 against Halladay since joining the Yankees in 2004, while Derek Jeter (3-for-12) and Hideki Matsui (1-for-9) have also struggled over the same span versus the Blue Jays ace.
Despite his impressive record overall this season, Halladay hasn’t pitched well lately. He’s 2-2 with a 6.85 ERA in his last four outings after giving up five runs over five innings in a 7-4 loss at Boston last Thursday.
“I definitely feel like it’s been a little bit harder for me to get consistent, which in the past has been a little easier,? Halladay told the Blue Jays? official Web site. “I’ve had these points over my career.”
Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 32nd home run and Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano also connected as the Yankees homered three times in the first three innings on Monday. New York didn’t take the lead for good, however, until Andy Phillips’ two-run single in the sixth.
“I think it’s big for this team to have everyone contribute because Alex has carried us a lot this year,” Phillips said.
Matsui extended his season-high hitting streak to 11 games. He’s batting .364 (16-for-44) with six homers during his run and has scored at least one run in every game of it.
Monday’s contest was the first between these teams since Rodriguez distracted Toronto third baseman Howie Clark by saying something as he ran past him on a pop up on May 30, as the ball dropped for a run-scoring single. The Blue Jays were angry about it at the time, but on Monday claimed to have put the incident behind them.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,” manager John Gibbons said. “There was a lot thrown at it, but it’s gone.”
Toronto fell to 2-3 since the All-Star break despite a huge night from third baseman Troy Glaus, who homered twice, tripled and drove in three runs. He had entered the series as a .213 career hitter at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (5-6, 4.27) has been terrible in his last two starts at home, going 0-1 with a 20.25 ERA. He had been 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA over his first six starts at Yankee Stadium.
The veteran left-hander won his first outing after the All-Star break, allowing three runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 7-3 win at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Pettitte faced Toronto for the first time in nearly four years on May 29 and allowed three runs - one earned - and six hits over 7 1-3 innings of a 3-2 loss. He is 0-2 with a 10.24 ERA in his last four starts at Yankee Stadium against the Blue Jays, all coming from 2001-03.
Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells is a career .435 (10-for-23) hitter against Pettitte.