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Halladay earns 19th win as Blue Jays keep miniscule hopes alive

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Roy Halladay was good enough to keep the Toronto Blue Jays' faint playoff hopes alive.

Halladay worked six innings to earn his 19th win, Scott Rolen homered and the Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday.

Toronto pulled within 7½ games of Boston in the wild-card race. The Blue Jays have seven games remaining, and the Red Sox have eight.

Jason Bay hit a two-run homer on his 30th birthday for the Red Sox, who provided a glimmer of hope to their wild-card pursuers. Jon Lester (15-6) gave up five runs and eight hits in seven innings.

Boston fell 2½ games back of AL East-leading Tampa Bay, which beat Minnesota 7-2, and its wild-card lead was cut to 6½ over the New York Yankees, who won 1-0 against Baltimore.

"We're still trying to catch Tampa," Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury said. "It would have been nice to have won today but we know we've still got (eight) more."

Halladay (19-11) won for the first time in three starts, allowing three runs and six hits. He struck out three to give him 201 for the season, passing 200 for the second time in his career.

"He's always one pitch away from a double play," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He sinks the ball so well, he cuts it. He threw a couple of changeups today. That's why he's got 19 wins. He's done it against everybody. He's got tremendous stuff."

A high pitch count kept Halladay from adding to his major league-leading 237 innings. Boston's batters worked him hard in the early going.

"I don't think I was around the zone as much as I normally am," said Halladay, who threw 61 of his 106 pitches for strikes. "I kind of compounded the problem myself. They're a good team. They're going to make you work either way."

Alex Rios' RBI single gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the first, and the Blue Jays added four more in the second. Rios drove in another run with a fielder's choice, Marco Scutaro doubled home a pair and Jose Bautista had an RBI single as Toronto batted around.

"You can't spot a pitcher like Halladay five runs in the second inning and hope to have a chance to win," Lester said.

Boston cut it to 5-3 with a three-run third and put runners on second and third with two out in the eighth. Alex Cora hit a sharp grounder up the middle but reliever Brandon League made a nice stop to end the inning.

"(Cora) was about two inches away from a hit," Francona said.

Rolen went deep in the bottom half against Justin Masterson, and B.J. Ryan finished for his 32nd save in 36 opportunities.

Lester struck out four and walked three in another shaky road outing. He is 10-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 16 starts at Fenway Park this season, but just 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 road starts.

David Ortiz singled in Dustin Pedroia in the third and scored on Bay's ninth homer since he joined the Red Sox in a July 31 trade.

Notes

  • Boston OF J.D. Drew suffered back spasms while swinging Friday and remains unable to play. Drew, who has been sidelined since Aug. 17, will be re-evaluated when Boston returns home Monday.
  • Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a leadoff single in the first.
  • Bay hit 22 homers with Pittsburgh before the deal.
  • Halladay struck out 204 in 2003, when he won the AL Cy Young Award.
  • Halladay and A.J. Burnett have combined for 37 wins this season, tying the highest single-season total in Blue Jays history. Jack Morris (21) and Juan Guzman (16) combined for 37 wins in 1992.
  • Halladay improved to 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in five starts against Boston this season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Roy Halladay, making a pick-off move to first here, has his best single-season win total since 2003. (AP)
Roy Halladay, making a pick-off move to first here, has his best single-season win total since 2003. (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

M. Scutaro
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Boston

J. Bay
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, RF5010000 .269
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4110100 .324
David Ortiz, DH3111101 .263
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4010022 .311
Jason Bay, LF3122102 .289
Jed Lowrie, 3B4000013 .270
Coco Crisp, CF4010000 .282
Alex Cora, SS4000003 .275
Jason Varitek, C4000011 .221
Totals3537334  
Batting
2B - Dustin Pedroia (51, Halladay)
HR - Jason Bay (31, Halladay)
RBI - David Ortiz (85), Jason Bay 2 (100)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bay 2 (40)
SB - Jacoby Ellsbury (49, 2nd base off Halladay/Thigpen), Dustin Pedroia (18, 2nd base off Halladay/Thigpen)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Pedroia-Cora-Youkilis, Lowrie-Pedroia-Youkilis
E - Alex Cora (6, Throwing)
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (L,15-6) 7855340 3.26
Justin Masterson 1111001 3.25
IBB - V. Wells by Jon Lester
HBP - McDonald (by Jon Lester)
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 102-63, Justin Masterson 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 12-4, Justin Masterson 2-1
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 32, Justin Masterson 4
Toronto Blue Jays
Marco Scutaro, 2B4222001 .266
Jose Bautista, DH4021011 .241
Alex Rios, RF3022100 .293
Vernon Wells, CF3000113 .293
Lyle Overbay, 1B4000002 .276
Scott Rolen, 3B4221010 .258
Kevin Mench, LF2100110 .232
   a- Travis Snider, PH-LF1000000 .333
Curtis Thigpen, C3010000 .182
John McDonald, SS2100000 .210
Totals3069634  
a-grounded out for Mench in the 8th
Batting
2B - Marco Scutaro (22, Lester)
HR - Scott Rolen (10, Masterson)
SH - Curtis Thigpen (2), John McDonald (7)
RBI - Marco Scutaro 2 (58), Jose Bautista (53), Alex Rios 2 (78), Scott Rolen (47)
SB - Alex Rios (31, 2nd base off Lester/Varitek)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Lyle Overbay (5, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
Roy Halladay (W,19-11) 6633331 2.81
Jesse Carlson (H,19) 1000000 1.74
Brandon League (H,5) 1100010 2.25
B.J. Ryan (S,32) 1000000 2.95
WP - Roy Halladay (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Halladay 106-61, Jesse Carlson 12-10, Brandon League 24-16, B.J. Ryan 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Halladay 7-8, Jesse Carlson 1-2, Brandon League 3-0, B.J. Ryan 2-1
Batters Faced - Roy Halladay 27, Jesse Carlson 3, Brandon League 5, B.J. Ryan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40554
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Field Culbreth