Thursday, things were back to normal.
Halladay shut out the Tigers for the third time since Sept. 6 and for the fourth time in his career, pitching the Toronto Blue Jays to an 11-0 victory.
Halladay only has two career shutouts against other teams.
“I think that after getting beat up in Toronto, we wanted to come here and have a better series,” Halladay said. “I think, for the most part, we did that.”
Halladay (1-2) allowed eight hits, walked one and struck out five. He also started out 1-2 last season before finishing with a 22-7 record and winning the Cy Young Award.
“That was vintage Doc there,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “He had real good stuff—95 or 96 with his fastball, his two-seamer was sinking, real good breaking ball. As good as you want to see.”
Last Sept. 6, Halladay pitched a 10-inning shutout against Detroit in a 1-0 victory. That was the first extra-inning shutout in the majors since Jack Morris did it in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series in Minnesota’s 1-0 win over Atlanta.
“That guy is, in my opinion, the best pitcher in the American League,” said Tigers manager Alan Trammell. “It was just a matter of time before he won one. When he’s on, he can pretty much tell you what’s coming, and it will still be tough to hit.”
Halladay posted his first April victory since April 4, 2002, against Minnesota.
Jason Johnson (1-2) took the loss, giving up three runs on four hits and a walk in four innings.
The Tigers announced after the game that Johnson left the game with a blister and that his status for his next start is uncertain.
Despite the defeat, the Tigers are still three games over .500 after setting an AL record with 119 losses last season.
“We’re 6-3, so I’m happy with that,” Trammell said. “Performances like that aren’t going to fly, though.”
Detroit is done with the Blue Jays this year, going 4-2 against them. The Tigers won the season series against Toronto for the first time since 1995.
Detroit didn’t get a runner into scoring position against Halladay until the fifth inning, when it loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk.
Even though Ivan Rodriguez is 10-for-18 against Halladay, he did not start and Tigers manager Alan Trammell chose to let Brandon Inge (0-for-11 vs. Halladay) hit. He grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“I thought about it, but it was only a small temptation,” Trammell said. “At that point, in the fifth inning, we are going to stick with our plan. Brandon deserved a chance, and we wanted to give Pudge a day off. That’s something for the long term.”
Halladay wasn’t surprised by Trammell’s decision.
“I wasn’t thinking about it in the fifth,” he said. “I figured that if it was still 3-0 and they got guys on later in the game, we might see him hit then.”
Toronto put the game away with five runs in the seventh. Johnson led off the inning with a bunt single, and moved to third on Wells’ one-out double. Gary Knotts intentionally walked Carlos Delgado to load the bases, and Phelps followed with a two-run single.
Hinske walked to reload the bases and Kevin Cash made it 6-0 with an RBI single before Knotts forced in a seventh run when he walked Orlando Hudson. Esteban Yan replaced Knotts and allowed Chris Woodward’s sacrifice fly.
Toronto added three runs in the ninth on a two-run homer by Cash and a RBIdouble by Woodward.
The Tigers commemorated Jackie Robinson Day with a pregame announcement and scoreboard videos before the game and during the seventh-inning stretch. … Actor Tom Wopat (Dukes of Hazzard) threw out the first pitch. … Woodward ended an 0-for-18 slump with a fourth-inning double. … Halladay’s first 16 outs came on strikeouts or groundballs. The streak ended when Fernando Vina hit a foul pop in the sixth. … Detroit’s Chris Shelton made his major leaguedebut in the seventh inning, grounding out as a pinch-hitter.