Halladay shuts down the Yanks

July 11, 2008 8:31:53 PM PDT
When it comes to Roy Halladay, Derek Jeter has seen enough. The New York Yankees shortstop considers his American League East rival to be the game's best starter. Halladay threw a two-hitter and Matt Stairs and Rod Barajas homered to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-0 victory over the Yankees on Friday night.

"He never throws a ball over the middle of the plate," Jeter said of Halladay. "If you face him four or five times a game, you might get one pitch over the plate. He goes from corner to corner as good as any pitcher in the game. He's probably the best starter in baseball, I would think. I know I'm a little biased because we face him 10 times a year. He's as consistent as anyone."

Halladay (11-6) won his third straight start and threw his major league-leading seventh complete game. He struck out eight and walked one. The right-hander, who has 11 career shutouts, is 8-1 over his past 12 starts.

"That's one of the best starts I've ever caught," Barajas said. "He was remarkable."

Halladay was asked whether he feels his recent run makes him a candidate to start Tuesday's All-Star game.

"It's not high on my priority list," he said. "It's just fun to be a part of and a tremendous honor."

The Blue Jays extended their home winning streak to a season-high six games.

Playing in their third city in as many nights, the Yankees put just two runners in scoring position against Halladay. Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner was hit in the left leg with a pitch and stole second in the first, but Halladay got Jeter to ground out and struck out both Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez looking to end the first. He began the second by fanning Jason Giambi and Jorge Posada.

"He was on right from the start," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He was outstanding tonight. That's as good as I've seen him."

Jeter hit a ground-rule double in the ninth but Abreu ended a 12-pitch at-bat by striking out before Rodriguez lined out to first to end the game.

"He was dominating," Rodriguez said. "We weren't even close."

The only other hit was Rodriguez's one-out single in the fourth, a liner to center that dropped in front of Brad Wilkerson.

The Yankees managed just two other baserunners against Halladay. Robinson Cano drew a two-out walk in the second, and Abreu was hit by a pitch in the sixth, but was caught stealing to end the inning.

Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain lost for the first time in eight starts since joining the rotation on June 3. Chamberlain (2-3) allowed three runs and seven hits and matched season highs by striking out nine in 6 2-3 innings.

"It was impressive to see the way he got better as the game went along," catcher Posada said of Chamberlain. "He did a lot of things well. His curveball was outstanding. That's probably the best curveball I've seen from him this year."

Chamberlain, who has won just once as a starter despite never allowing more than three earned runs, was encouraged that he did not walk a batter for the first time.

"I threw all my pitches for a strike and did an OK job of pounding the zone and getting ahead early," he said. "I knew if I fell behind it was going to be a long night."

Toronto opened the scoring in the third when Adam Lind led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. Joe Inglett advanced him to third with a bunt and was safe at first when Posada's underhanded throw sailed over the head of Wilson Betemit at first. One out later, Lyle Overbay's single scored Lind and sent Inglett to third. Stairs followed with an RBI fielder's choice.

Barajas hit a solo homer to left in the sixth, his eighth. It was the second homer Chamberlain has allowed as a starter.

Chamberlain left after Lind reached on a bloop double that Cano lost in the twilight. Billy Traber came on and got Inglett to hit a comebacker.

Stairs made it 5-0 with a two-run homer in the eighth off Traber, his ninth.

The crowd of 43,078 was Toronto's biggest since Opening Day.

Notes: Girardi said the swelling in OF Johnny Damon's injured left shoulder has gone down and that his range of motion is returning. Damon is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on July 20. ... OF Hideki Matsui (left knee) hit off a tee and took part in a soft toss session for the third straight day Friday and could take batting practice Saturday. Matsui is working out at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, Fla. ... Blue Jays OF Alex Rios is expected miss the weekend series. He has returned home to Puerto Rico to be with his girlfriend as she gave birth to the couple's first child. Daughter Alessandra was born Friday night. ... Toronto RHP A.J. Burnett will pitch on three days' rest in Sunday's series finale in place of RHP Dustin McGowan, who is on the 15-day DL with a sore shoulder.