On Thursday, Roy Halladay will try to end the Blue Jays’ four-game home losing streak when they conclude their two-game set against Vicente Padilla and the Rangers, who seek back-to-back victories for the second time this season.
The Blue Jays (8-7) had won six straight over the Rangers (6-9) dating to last season, but dropped a 7-5, 14-inning contest to them on Wednesday night.
A depleted bullpen forced Toronto to call on starter A.J. Burnett—the team record-tying ninth pitcher of the game—in the final inning, and his wild pitch allowed Texas’ Frank Catalanotto to score the go-ahead run.
Burnett, who led the Blue Jays to a 5-4 win in Texas on Sunday, made his first relief appearance since Oct. 13, 2004 for Florida.
“It’s frustrating,” catcher Gregg Zaun said after the four-hour, 53-minute marathon. “It’s one thing when the other team takes it to you and beats you. But when something as simple as a ball getting between my legs is possibly the difference in the ballgame, that’s hard to swallow.”
The Blue Jays are trying to avoid their first five-game home losing streak since April 20-24, 2005, and they’ll be turning to a pitcher that is on a major roll in Toronto.
Halladay (2-1, 3.00 ERA) is 10-0 with a 3.23 ERA in his last 12 games at the Rogers Centre. In his first home start of 2008, he gave up four runs in eight innings in a 7-4 victory over Boston on April 6.
The Blue Jays ace is coming off his 32nd complete game - a six-hitter that led to a 4-1 victory at Texas on Saturday and lowered his season ERA from 4.20 to 3.00.
Against the Rangers, Halladay improved 4-1 with a 3.65 ERA in his last five starts against them.
The Rangers won’t be too excited to see Halladay again, but their focus will be on trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since taking both ends of a doubleheader against Baltimore on April 10.
They’re hoping Padilla (1-1, 3.79) can help them complete that task. He gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings of an 8-5 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.74 ERA in five career starts against the Blue Jays.
The Rangers only used seven pitchers Wednesday. Left-hander C.J. Wilson, who hasn’t allowed a run in seven innings this season, converted his fourth save in as many chances to close out the win for Texas, which ended a five-game skid.
“We certainly showed some fight and a lot of character,” Rangers manager Ron Washington. “We got the monkey off our backs.”
Milton Bradley had a career-high five walks, but also had two hits to extend his streak to 11 games in which he is batting .395 (17-for-43) with three RBIs.
The Rangers could be without Hank Blalock, who left in the 10th inning with a sore lower back and will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
The third baseman, who is hitting .302 with two homers and four RBIs this season, has hit .333 (11-for-33) with two homers and four RBIs versus Halladay.