CHICAGO (AP)—Sergio Mitre is tired of shuttling between Iowa and Chicago. He’d like to put down some roots in the majors and leave Triple-A behind for good.
Mitre made a real bid Wednesday by outpitching one of baseball’s top starters, Toronto’s Roy Halladay.
The Cubs’ young starter allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings before leg cramps set in. And he also added an RBI double off Halladay as Chicago avoided a sweep with a 2-0 victory over the Blue Jays.
“I think it’s about time. I’ve been up here a couple of times already,” the 24-year-old Mitre said. “I feel like I can get it done, so it’s about time I start doing it and start being more consistent.”
Mitre (1-1) allowed 11 earned runs in his previous two starts against the Rockies and Padres, but coming out of the bullpen after his warmup Wednesday he felt strong.
He retired the first 13 batters, getting 10 groundball outs and striking out three before Aaron Hill beat out a high chopper to third with one out in the fifth for an infield single.
With one out in the sixth, Reed Johnson delivered Toronto’s first ball out of the infield, a line drive single to center on a 3-2 pitch. He made it to second on an infield out but was stranded when Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez made a nice play on Vernon Wells’ grounder in the hole and threw him out.
“His sinker was his pitch today. He had all of us guessing,” Hill said. “He had everything working. Even my hit was a little infield ground ball that I was lucky to get.”
Mitre, in his second stint with the Cubs this season after a recall from the minors May 24, walked one and struck out six during a 105-pitch effort on a humid 86-degree afternoon at Wrigley Field. The conditions may have contributed to his cramping.
“My right calf, I think it was just the humidity. It was pretty hot out there,” Mitre said.
“We were a bit concerned in the fifth and sixth and seventh. He started cramping,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “We said, `Hey, man we can’t have him cramping anymore cause we know he’s going to be sore.’ That’s why we took him out.”
Halladay (9-3) had his five-game winning streak snapped, allowing seven hits and two runs in seven innings with five strikeouts.
Pitching at Wrigley Field for the first time, Halladay enjoyed the experience if not the result. Still, the Blue Jays had been struggling before taking two of three in the Cubs’ home park on the third leg of a 14-day, 13-game road trip.
“Balls play different here, but it was fun,” Halladay said. “I would have preferred a night game but the atmosphere here is great, day or night.”
Halladay entered the game having allowed just two earned runs in his previous 39 innings, but the Cubs matched that in the third, thanks to Mitre’s fourth major league hit.
Todd Hollandsworth doubled to left for the Cubs’ first hit and scored when Mitre sent a hard grounder past third for another double. Mitre then scored when Corey Patterson hit a hard hopper through the box that went past Halladay and into center for an RBI single.
“You’re going against a guy like Halladay and his record speaks for itself,” Hollandsworth said. “We scratched out a couple off him early and made it stand up.”
Mitre had another chance to help himself in the fourth when the Cubs loaded the bases with two outs, but his ground ball to short for a force play ended the inning.
“I’m a pitcher, not a hitter,” Mitre said.
Hill is batting .579 (11-for-19) with runners in scoring position for Toronto. … Cubs RF Jeromy Burnitz, who has played in every game this season, was out of the starting lineup for a rest. He entered the game in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement. … Mitre’s first major league hit came in 2003 off Greg Maddux, now a teammate. … Halladay’s interleague record dropped to 11-5.