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Halladay wins lucky 13 for Jays
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07/12/2003  3:58 PM ET 
Halladay wins lucky 13 for Jays
Right-hander has not lost since April 15
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com

TORONTO -- An old baseball maxim says that momentum is only as strong as the next day's pitcher. In Roy Halladay's case, perhaps it should be amended: Momentum hardly applies to a pitcher who never loses.

    Roy Halladay   /   P
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 230
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
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Stats
Splits
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"Amazing is a good word to describe it. This guy's something different -- he's not the average human," said Carlos Delgado, Toronto's All-Star slugger. "This guy's an animal. The way he works, the way he goes about his business every five days, sometimes even four days. He's been nothing short of spectacular for us."

Toronto's ace hasn't lost since April 15, a span of 17 starts in 12 weeks. He's won 13 straight decisions, two short of the franchise record set by David Wells in 20010

On Saturday, faced with a four-game losing streak, the Blue Jays needed Halladay at his dead-level best. That's exactly what they got: The right-hander worked eight innings of four-hit baseball, leading the Jays to a 10-3 win over New York.

"I think it's important for me to focus on going game-to-game and pitch-to-pitch," Halladay said about his streak. "It's really not something I'll look back on, and I probably won't until the season's over."

Saturday's final score was augmented by the home team's late charge: The Jays scored two runs in the seventh and six runs in the eighth to put the game on ice.

Here's the impressive part: Halladay (13-2) did his All-Star act on just three days' rest. It was just the second time in his career that he'd pitched on such short rest, and he made it work for his second win in those conditions.

"Physically, I feel real good. We made some adjustments in the workout program and I feel as strong as I did early in the year," he said. "I'm happy with the way I feel right now and I'll try to keep it there. It's just a matter of making adjustments in your throwing, making sure you don't overdo it."

"Right from the get-go, you could tell he was on his game, the same way he was the last time he pitched on three days' rest," said Toronto manager Carlos Tosca. "He doesn't cease to amaze me. That's not a lower-division team he faced. That's a team that grinds and has All-Stars up and down the lineup.

"We're treading on uncharted water here -- he is basically our franchise. There's nothing I'd love more than to see him on four days. We'll keep taking pops at it, and if he's OK, maybe next year we'll take a look at that."

In Halladay's latest start, New York only managed two baserunners in the first five innings. Both made it to second base, where Halladay stranded them. Toronto (49-45) built up a 2-0 lead in that span, thanks to a solo homer by Vernon Wells and a run-scoring single by Reed Johnson.

Finally, in the fifth, the Yanks (56-36) scored their only runs off Halladay. With two outs and one man on, Jason Giambi tied the game with a laser line drive that cleared the right-field fence. That was all the AL East leaders could produce, but it was enough to briefly tie the game.

"That's going to happen to him a lot," Tosca said about the close game. "Where he pitches in the rotation, he's probably going to be facing someone else's No.1 or No. 2. They're going to gear up for him, and our ballclub pretty much knows it's going to be a low-scoring game."

"You know that every time he pitches we have a chance to win the game," Delgado said. "You don't want to take him for granted, though. You still want to go out and help him out, do what you've gotta do."

    Frank Catalanotto   /   LF
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 195
Bats/Throws: L/R

More info:
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Stats
Splits
Hit chart
Blue Jays site

On Saturday, that meant grinding into the seventh inning, when two go-ahead runs scored on a single by Frank Catalanotto. After that, the flood gates opened: Toronto plated five more in the eighth to put the game out of reach.

With such a one-sided score, Halladay didn't come out for the final frame. His day ended with six strikeouts and no walks. In his last 17 starts, Halladay has struck out 80 batters with only 12 walks. Twenty-three of his 24 outs came on balls that never left the infield -- only one, a fly out to right field, made it into the outfield.

"I think that's important for me. It lets me know I'm keeping my pitches down," he said. "I've given up a few home runs this year, so I'm going to try and keep the ball on the ground."

The victory moved the Blue Jays to eight games out of first place in the AL East. Toronto has one more game before the All-Star break, a Sunday matinee against New York. Kelvim Escobar will start that game and face New York's Jeff Weaver.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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