TORONTO (AP)—Roy Halladay’s complete game streak came to an end, but this time he did get the win.
Halladay won for the first time in four starts, Matt Stairs scored twice and drove in two runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the White Sox 4-3 on Sunday, handing Chicago its season-high fifth straight loss.
Halladay (3-4) had thrown complete games in his previous four starts, but lost the last three. He lasted 7 1-3 innings in this one, giving up three runs— one earned—and three hits. Halladay walked none and struck out seven.
Staked to a 4-0 lead after three innings, Halladay survived Chicago’s three-run fourth to get the win, saying pitching with a lead gave him a boost.
“It’s a comfort level for the pitchers,” Halladay said. “There’s something about being on top. It’s sometimes a little defeating when you’re always pitching behind. It’s nice to get those runs and get a little confidence.”
“It’s never easy taking (Halladay) out but you have to do what you think is right,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Halladay last won April 12 at Texas, when he threw a six-hitter.
Toronto has won a season-high four straight after losing eight of nine.
Lyle Overbay’s sacrifice fly gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead in the second, and the Blue Jays made it 4-0 in the third when a key call went against the White Sox.
Gregg Zaun opened the inning with a single and went to third on a double by Alex Rios. Rios inexplicably strayed off the bag on David Eckstein’s grounder to short and collided with Orlando Cabrera, who was incensed when second base umpired Dale Scott ruled that Rios had not been tagged out on the play.
“From the dugout I thought Cabbie tagged the guy,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who came out to argue the call. “The umpires are human. They’re going to make mistakes and that mistake cost us a couple of runs.”
Rios denied that Cabrera had completed the double play.
“He didn’t tag me with the glove,” Rios said. “We just collided, but I don’t think he ever tagged me.”
Jose Contreras pitched a complete game but took the loss for Chicago, giving up four runs and six hits. He walked none and struck out five.
“We’ve been wasting a lot of good pitching on our side,” Guillen said. “Our pitching staff is doing a tremendous job and we’re not helping them win more games.”
Contreras (2-3) has not won back-to-back starts since Sept. 19, 2007.
The White Sox have lost eight of 11 to fall below .500 for the first time since they were 1-2. Chicago has scored just nine runs in its past five games and has the lowest team batting average in the American League at .232.
“It seemed like we had a little bit more life in the dugout, we were attacking really well,” Guillen said. “That’s the best game we’ve played in this bad week. The attitude was there, the fight was there. Hopefully tomorrow we go back out and continue to keep fighting.”
Halladay was perfect through the first three innings, but gave up three runs and three hits in the fourth. Nick Swisher led off with a double and Cabrera reached on Eckstein’s throwing error. Jim Thome hit an RBI single, Paul Konerko followed with a run-scoring double and A.J. Pierzynksi capped the rally with an RBI grounder.
Rolen finished 0-for-4, the first time he has been held without a hit in eight games this season.
Halladay led the majors with seven complete games in 2007, going 4-3 with a 1.97 ERA in those games. … Chicago is 0-5 on artificial turf this season. … The Blue Jays are 8-1 in day games. … Right-handers Javier Vazquez (3-2) and Dustin McGowan (1-2) square off in Monday’s series finale.