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Halladay works through rough start
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06/02/2002 6:27 pm ET 
Halladay works through rough start
Jays' starter survives eight innings in 7-6 win
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com

Roy Halladay allowed six runs and 11 hits in eight innings in the Blue Jays's 7-6 victory on Sunday. (Paul Sancya/AP)
DETROIT -- If you skipped Sunday's Tigers-Jays game and analyzed it only by the box score, you might think Roy Halladay pitched poorly. After all, the Toronto ace surrendered six earned runs in eight innings.

Ask Halladay, however, and he'd say it was one of his most rewarding outings.

"It's not fun to give up six runs, but it's fun to pitch in a game like that," Halladay said after Toronto's 7-6 win at Comerica Park. "I never felt like I had my best stuff today. It was a day where it was going to take everything I had just to get through it. Obviously, I don't want to give up six runs, but I couldn't be any happier."

Halladay (6-2) ate up eight innings on Sunday, even without his best stuff. He said that he had to fight his way through a cerebral start, relying more on his mind than his physical talent. Toronto manager Buck Martinez said that was the decisive factor in the game. The intangibles tipped the scales on Sunday, and that's something you could never learn from the stat sheet.

"He was dominant in his mindset. He was dominant in his determination," Martinez said. "He wasn't dominant with great stuff, but he certainly dominated with his character. You can't discount character."

It didn't look good in the early going, but Halladay improved as the game went on. The 25-year-old allowed two runs in the first inning but held the home team down while his offense erased the deficit. While he was retiring eight straight batters, the Jays put five runs on the board.

The Tigers would never lead again, although they did come back to tie the game. Randall Simon hit a solo homer in the fourth inning and a two-run double in the fifth.

"He gave up some runs and they tied it up," said Eric Hinske, who had two extra-base hits and drove in three runs. "He just goes right back to business, he doesn't get down on himself. He's our number one for a reason. He's the man."

With the game tied at 5, Halladay may have had cause to look over his shoulder. Except for one thing -- he knows he has the trust of his manager. Since that's the case, there was no need to panic or press the issue.

"It's a great feeling for me. You get in a game like this, you know he's going to give you a chance to win," Halladay said. "I really never feel like he's down on me. I give up five runs in five innings, I still feel like he has confidence that I can get the job done. It's a nice feeling. It makes pitching much easier."

That trust showed up again, later in the game. In the eighth inning, with no outs and the tying run at second base, Martinez came out to talk to Halladay. The starter thought that was it for him -- in the past, whenever his manager came to the mound, that was the end of his day.

Not this time. Martinez came out, exchanged a few words and then went back to the dugout. After the game, Halladay joked about that interaction.

"He's never come out to the mound (just) to talk to me. I was kind of shocked when he came out," Halladay said. "I was standing there and he said he was going to leave me in. It's something I've talked to him about before. I just didn't think he was listening."

For his part, Martinez explained why he did that. He said that it had everything to do with Roy Halladay. In that spot, leading 7-6 with six outs to go, he trusted his pitcher to end the threat.

"I feel very confident with Roy Halladay out there on the mound, because he believes in himself," he said. "He battled all the way through the game. He was able to do a hell of a job."

He certainly did, getting out of the jam with a popup, a ground ball and a strikeout. Kelvim Escobar came in for the final three outs, saving his third game in as many days. With that, the Jays closed out their second three-game sweep of the season, and their first on the road.

After it was all over, Halladay was asked how he would describe the game to a fan who hadn't seen it. What could he tell them that they wouldn't learn from crunching the numbers?

"There's something I've realized over the last couple years," he said. "Baseball, at this level, is about winning and losing. Numbers -- you can throw those out the window. We won, that's the most important thing."

Spencer Fordin, who covers the Blue Jays for MLB.com, can be reached at spencer.fordin@mlb.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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