Blue Jays 6, Expos 5

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TORONTO (AP)—Roy Halladay understood why he didn’t get any more chances to win his 12th straight start.

Halladay got a no-decision and Montreal Expos reliever Julio Manon walked Shannon Stewart with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Toronto Blue Jays a 6-5 victory Friday night.

Halladay allowed five runs on nine hits in eight innings. With the game tied at 5, Toronto manager Carlos Tosca didn’t let Halladay pitch the ninth. He was trying to become only the fourth pitcher since 1950 to win 12 consecutive starts—only Bob Gibson, Pat Dobson and Brad Radke have done it.

“Going out and trying to win one more game in a row isn’t as important as us winning the game,” Halladay said.

Just before the game, the Expos learned that Texas slugger Juan Gonzalez rejected a trade to Montreal, exercising a no-trade clause in his contract three days after the teams agreed to a deal.

Montreal’s Jose Vidro expected Gonzalez to veto the trade.

“It was very disappointing for us not to have Juan, but we’ve got to go on,” Vidro said. “We expected the worst. When the guy right away says no, you don’t expect to have him on the team. If you like a trade right away, you say yes, and don’t wait a couple of days to make the decision.”

Halladay, a 26-year-old right-hander, went 0-2 in his first six starts before winning 11 in a row.

“It’s nice to get a number like that, but you have to understand why you got it, and the main reason is we’ve been scoring a lot of runs,” Halladay said.

Tosca said it was hard to remove him.

“It was very difficult because he had gotten stronger as the game went on,” Tosca said. “It was not an easy decision.”

Manon (0-1) walked Reed Johnson leading off the ninth before Eric Hinske singled to center. After Dave Berg advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, Manon walked Mike Bordick to load the bases.

The reliever went to a 3-2 count on Stewart before throwing a ball low and outside, scoring Johnson.

“We wanted to win for Doc, but the most important thing is the victory for the team,” Stewart said. “I’m sure Doc wanted to go out there and pitch the last inning, but Doc is our ace and we got to take care of him.”

Stewart also hit a tying home run in the seventh for the Blue Jays, who are 3-1 this season against their Canadian rivals.

Toronto’s Vernon Wells really wanted to get the win for Halladay.

“Everybody knew the situation. We had a chance there, unfortunately we didn’t do it,” Wells said. “What can you say? Eleven straight is something not too many people have done.”

Trever Miller (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

Montreal’s Orlando Cabrera hit an RBI single in the first, and Vidro followed with an RBI grounder.

Expos starter Livan Hernandez walked Greg Myers with the bases loaded in the bottom half, cutting Montreal’s lead to 2-1.

Toronto’s Chris Woodward hit an RBI grounder in the second.

Montreal scored three runs in the third on Brad Wilkerson’s RBI single and Wil Cordero’s two-run homer.

Johnson tripled in the fourth and scored on Hinske’s RBI single. Wells homered in the fifth, his 20th, cutting Montreal’s lead to 5-4.

Stewart homered in the seventh, tying it at 5.

Hernandez allowed five runs on eight hits in seven innings.

Notes

Halladay went 6-0 in May and 5-0 in June. … Tosca said Johnson will see more playing time at the expense of DH Josh Phelps. … Halladay got his 500th strikeout in the first inning. … Woodward left the game in the sixthwith a bruised left thumb.

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