The right-hander pitched his major league-leading fifth complete game and the Toronto Blue Jays took advantage of four errors to beat the Angels 4-1 on Tuesday night.
“There aren’t many people who can do as many things with the baseball that he can and marry it with the control,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Halladay. “He’s an elite pitcher.”
Halladay (14-5) won his third straight start and improved to 10-1 with a 3.36 ERA at home this season. He allowed one run and five hits, walked none and struck out two.
Halladay said the two-seam fastball was his most effective pitch.
“It felt like it was moving good and, for the most part, we were locating it well,” he said. “If I can do that with it and also show them the cutter on the other side, it makes it a lot more effective.”
The four errors matched the Angels’ season high. Shortstop Erick Aybar and Mathis made fielding errors in the first, while third baseman Chone Figgins and Aybar made throwing errors in the third and fourth, respectively.
“The way we played, especially on the defensive end, is troubling,” Scioscia said. “That was one of our worst games of the year and we need to play better. You have the odd game here or there where you play poorly defensively but that was a bad ballgame.”
Halladay was surprised by the Angels’ defensive woes.
“They’re a team that doesn’t do that a whole lot,” Halladay said. “When they do, you have to take advantage of it and we really seemed to do that.”
Angels left-hander Joe Saunders (6-1) lost for the first time since Sept. 13, 2006. Saunders allowed four runs—three earned—and eight hits over seven innings. He struck out four and walked none.
Two first-inning errors put Saunders and the Angels in an early hole.
“He should have come out of the first inning with much less damage than he did,” Scioscia said. “He did a good job making some pitches and we just didn’t support him defensively.”
Halladay threw 99 pitches and wrapped up a game in less than two hours for the second time this season. At 1:58, it was the Angels’ quickest game of the year.
“It seemed like every time I came in the dugout, put my hat down and got a drink of water I was taking two steps onto the field again,” Saunders said.
All the runs were scored in the first inning.
Figgins led off the game with a single, stole second and scored on a single by Vladimir Guerrero.
Toronto batted around in their four-run first. Reed Johnson tripled and scored on Lyle Overbay’s single before Alex Rios singled and Vernon Wells reached on Aybar’s error. That loaded the bases for Frank Thomas, who hit a sacrifice fly.
“I just couldn’t get it out of my glove,” Mathis said. “I just fumbled it trying to get it out of the pocket and it dropped. It definitely bothers you a little bit.”
Halladay has 29 career complete games. … The Blue Jays have won four straight season series against the Angels. … Figgins had one stolen base—his 33rd—to add to Los Angeles’ AL-leading 108.