ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Roy Halladay's success against Tampa Bay has become a central part of his season.
"It gives you a psychological lift when he's out there," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You feel good going into the game."
Halladay (15-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, struck three and walked one, improving to 4-1 against Tampa Bay this season. He had been tied at 14 wins with Detroit's Justin Verlander and Boston's Curt Schilling.
"He's usually always in control," Gibbons said. "Very rarely is he not. He'll give up some runs here and there, but games don't collapse on him."
Halladay has reached 15 wins three times in the last five years.
"There were seasons where I felt stuff-wise I was probably there more consistently," Halladay said. "I think it's more of a result of our team, the offense we have this year and the bullpen we have this year."
Greg Norton hit a two-run homer for the Devil Rays, who also lost seven straight from July 14-20. Norton left after the sixth with tightness in his left hamstring.
"We'll check it out tomorrow and see how it feels," Norton said. "Right now I'm pretty optimistic. It doesn't bother me walking right now."
Tampa Bay is 8-22 since the All-Star break.
Devil Rays starter Jae Seo gave up two runs and 10 hits in seven innings. He has not figured in the decision in each of last three starts despite allowing four runs -- three earned -- over 20 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 in the first on Norton's 10th homer of the season. It was the first runs in a first inning off Halladay since April 4, when Minnesota scored a first-inning unearned run on opening day. Halladay has made 25 starts this season.
"The guy is arguably the best pitcher in the American League," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought he was fighting himself a little bit tonight. He wasn't walking people. He was getting into some bad counts which is unusual for him."
Halladay has allowed 14 homers in 177 innings this season. He has given up two over his last six starts.
Toronto had four consecutive singles -- including a run-scoring hit by Bengie Molina -- in the fourth. However, the Blue Jays missed out on a potential big inning when McDonald popped out and Reed Johnson hit a fly ball with the bases loaded.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but failed to score when Rios flied out. Rios went 2-for-4 and has 15 hits in 61 at-bats over 16 games since returning from a staph infection in his lower left leg.
Lyle Overbay's fifth-inning RBI double tied it at two. He has driven in 11 runs in his last eight games.
- The Devil Rays recalled reliever Chad Orvella from Triple-A Durham and designated RHP Chad Harville for assignment.
- Toronto 3B Troy Glaus, who left Sunday's game with knee soreness, was in the lineup. He was 0-for-3 with a walk.
- Blue Jays LHP Gustavo Chacin, on the DL since June 10 with a sore left elbow, is set to rejoin the rotation Saturday.
- Umpire Marvin Hudson missed the game because of a personal reason and was replaced by Chad Fairchild.