Blue Jays 4, Cardinals 1
TORONTO (AP)—Roy Halladay feels he is pitching as well as he did in 2003, when he won the American League Cy Young Award. The statistics show he is better.
Halladay (10-3) has won six of his last seven starts and is tied with Chicago’s Jon Garland for the most wins in the AL.
Asked if this season is better than his Cy Young year, Halladay said: “It’s tough to say, but as far as goals and preparation it’s the same.”
It’s a little clearer when comparing the numbers.
Halladay needed 16 starts to win his 10th game in 2003 and he had a 3.82 ERA at that point.
This season, he reached 10 wins in 14 starts and has an ERA 2.33, significantly better.
“He’s having some kind of year,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He’s in an elite class and that’s what those kind of pitchers do.”
The 28-year-old right-hander struck out five and walked none for his 20th career complete game.
Halladay leads the AL with 108 innings. He won just eight games last season because of a troublesome right shoulder.
Shea Hillenbrand homered for the Blue Jays, who reached .500 again (32-32) by ending a four-game losing streak. Toronto played its first home game following a 4-9 road trip.
The Cardinals raved about Halladay after facing him for the first time.
St. Louis outfielder Larry Walker called him “pretty much nasty.”
“He didn’t win a Cy Young by fluke,” said Walker, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
David Eckstein added: “I don’t think film does Halladay justice. You don’t understand how hard he’s throwing the ball with that much movement.”
John Mabry homered for the Cardinals, who have lost just four of their last 22 interleague games. Center fielder Jim Edmonds was a late scratch because of bruised ribs. He said he didn’t think he’d play Tuesday.
Suppan plunked Hillebrand in his next at-bat, prompting plate umpire Bob Davidson to warn Suppan and both dugouts. No further incidents occured.
Suppan allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings.
“Three runs in seven innings, that’s a quality job when you are facing a guy like Halladay,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “He hung with it and gave us a chance.”
Mabry homered off Halladay in the fourth, cutting Toronto’s lead to 3-1.
Toronto 2B Orlando Hudson ended a 0-for-17 slump with a single in the fourth. … Halladay has pitched six or more innings in 14 consecutive starts. … Halladay allowed two earned runs and seven hits in seven innings of Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs, snapping a five-start winning streak. … St. Louis RHP Chris Carpenter returned to Toronto for the first time since the Blue Jays removed him from the 40-man roster in 2002. Carpenter, 8-4 with a 3.49 ERA, is scheduled to start Tuesday night’s game. … The Cardinals played the first of a nine-game, 10-day road trip.