Blue Jays 8, Yankees 1

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TORONTO (AP)—Roy Halladay thought it was important to beat the New York Yankees in his final start against them.

“We want to leave them with something to think about,” Halladay said after he pitched a four-hitter and tied for the AL lead with his 18th victory of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays beat New York 8-1 on Monday.

“It’s always nice to beat them,” Halladay said. “They are one of the best teams in baseball. To go out and play them well is important for us. This is the last time we see them this year.”

The rebuilding Blue Jays appear headed for a sixth straight third-place finish.

Halladay (18-6) allowed one run and tied a season high with 10 strikeouts for his fifth complete game of the year. He tied Chicago’s Esteban Loaiza for the league lead in victories, and also tied New York’s Roger Clemens for the AL lead in strikeouts with 172.

“That’s as probably as good as I’ve seen him,” New York’s Bernie Williams said. “He was tough. He threw a lot of strikes. He had good movement.”

Josh Phelps homered and drove in four runs for the Blue Jays.

David Wells (12-6), possibly pitching to keep his spot in the Yankees’ rotation, allowed five runs on nine hits in seven innings. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre questioned Wells’ work ethic and conditioning following his worst performance of the year last week.

“He’ll start Sunday,” New York manager Joe Torre said. “I thought he did a lot better job of getting the ball down today. Mel felt the same way.”

Wells said he felt good mentally and physically. He said pitching on the side between starts didn’t help at all. Wells agreed to do it after Stottlemyre criticized him for not doing it.

“It’s just good to go out there every five days and pitch,” Wells said. “If they want me to go out and throw bullpens, that’s fine. I don’t have a problem with that at all.”

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the first when Alfonso Soriano led off with a bunt single and scored on Nick Johnson’s RBI single.

Toronto went up 2-1 in the fourth when Wells walked Mike Bordick, allowed a double to Vernon Wells, Carlos Delgado’s RBI grounder and Phelps hit a run-scoring single.

“They say walks kill, and it was proven today,” Wells said.

Eric Hinske and Reed Johnson hit RBI doubles in the fifth, giving Toronto a 4-1 lead.

Hinske doubled again in the seventh and scored on Johnson’s RBI single.

Phelps’ three-run shot off Jeff Weaver in the eighth gave Toronto an 8-1 lead.

Weaver allowed consecutive singles to Wells and Delgado before Phelps homered off of SkyDome’s Windows restaurant in center field. Weaver then walkedBobby Kielty before recording his first out of the eighth.

Notes

Infielder Luis Sojo came out of retirement and was activated Monday by the Yankees. The move came following an injury Sunday to shortstop Derek Jeter, expected to miss at least three games with a slight muscle strain in his left ribcage. Sojo played in parts of six seasons with the Yankees from 1996-2001 and was a member of four World Series championship teams. He was hired June 25 by the Yankees as a coach and liaison to Latin players. … Halladay won for just the second time in his last five starts. … Wells was battered for a season-high 10 runs and 11 hits over 5 1-3 innings in an 11-2 loss to Chicagoon Wednesday. … 1B Jason Giambi is in an 0-for-24 slump.

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