Halladay shut out the Tigers for the second time in 10 days, throwing a six-hitter to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-0 win Wednesday night and pushing Detroit one step closer to baseball history.
“He’s amazing—I’ve said it before, but he’s Cy Young,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “I saw Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling when I was in Arizona, and he’s made out of the same stuff. I’ve run out of things to say about him.”
Halladay had a 10-inning shutout against the Tigers on Sept. 7 at SkyDome, and is 9-1 in his career against Detroit.
“They have a younger team and they like to swing the bats,” Halladay said. “A big part of what I do is to throw strikes with movement and get guys swinging, so it is nice to face an aggressive team that is anxious to try to get out there and put some runs on the board.”
Detroit (38-113) has lost five straight and needs five wins in its final 11 games to avoid matching the post-1900 record of 120 losses set by the 1962 New York Mets.
The Tigers became just the fifth team since 1900 to lose 113 games, and the first AL team to do so since the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics. That club set the AL record with 117 losses.
“We gave up some runs today on balls that landed right in the middle of three fielders,” Tigers catcher Brandon Inge said. “Those are the type of things that just keep happening in a season as bad as this.”
Halladay (21-6) pitched his second shutout of the season, becoming the first 21-game winner in the majors. He tied the team record for wins in a season held by Roger Clemens (1997) and Jack Morris (1992).
“He’s awfully good,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “The only question left about the Cy Young is if the voters will like this guy, who has the better stuff, or (Chicago’s) Esteban Loaiza for what he has done in the pennant race.”
Halladay has allowed only an unearned run in his last 36 innings, strengthening his Cy Young credentials. He walked none and struck out seven, throwing 72 of 102 pitches for strikes.
“This has been a fun run,” Halladay said. “I think it is important for me to stay focused for my next two starts, and then I can start thinking about awards. Right now, I’m just trying to make my best pitches and not think about anything.”
The Tigers put only one runner in scoring position over the last seven innings.
“He just buries you,” Inge said. “He threw over 100 pitches and had only 30 balls. That’s why the guy is a 20-game winner. He can come after you with so many different pitches, starting with a 96 mph sinker.”
Shane Loux (0-1) allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 1-3 innings in his first start since Aug. 27. He had been sidelined with a sore shoulder.
Detroit got leadoff doubles in the first two innings, but Halladay struck out Dmitri Young to end the first, and Inge hit into an inning-ending double play in the second.
“Not to get a run out of those two innings was tough,” Trammell said. “After we didn’t get anything there, against that guy, we’re looking at having to hold down one of the best offenses in baseball for a long time.”
By the time the Tigers got their next baserunner on Warren Morris’ infield single in the sixth inning, Toronto had a 6-0 lead.
Vernon Wells made it 2-0 in the third with his 32nd homer, and the Blue Jays scored four more in the fourth.
With runners on first and second and one out, former Tiger Frank Catalanotto lined a two-run triple to the center-field fence. Eric Hinske followed with an RBI single, stole second and scored on Carlos Delgado’s two-out double offreliever Chris Spurling.
Kevin Cash’s fourth-inning single ended an 0-for-19 slump. … Toronto has won six straight against the Tigers, outscoring them 40-14. … Reed Johnson extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games with a sixth-inning double. Johnson replaced Catalanotto (hamstring) in the fourth inning. Catalanotto is day-to-day. … Halladay tied Pat Hentgen’s 10-year-old team record by winning his 12th road game of the season. … Young struck out in his first three at-bats. … The game drew 11,240 fans, about half as many as Tuesday’s WNBA championship game at the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburbanDetroit.