Halladay wins sixth as Jays rout Halos
Hill, Wells, Overbay homer to back ace's eight-inning gem
ANAHEIM -- Roy Halladay could have eased up a little. No one would have blamed him. After just two innings on Wednesday night, the Blue Jays had provided their ace with a seven-run cushion, creating a virtual Everest for the Angels to climb.
Taking his foot off the accelerator just isn't Doc's thing.
"That's not his style. He's not like that," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.
So Halladay fashioned another dominating performance, and the Blue Jays' lineup showed once again that letting up is not something they are interested in doing this season, either. That combination led to a convincing 13-1 rout of the Halos at Angel Stadium, and a sixth win in seven starts for Halladay.
Just like that, Toronto improved its American League-leading record to 20-10 -- the club's best start out of the gates since opening the 1992 campaign with a 21-9 ledger. The victory also assured that the Jays will at least depart Anaheim with a split of its two-game set with the Angels, giving Toronto only one series loss in 10 to begin the season.
In their latest romp, the Jays' starting nine pounded out 15 hits, giving the team 16 games with a double-digit showing. Taking that a step further, Toronto entered the contest with a Major League-leading 312 hits -- 45 more than the second-best club (Dodgers) in that category. After Wednesday's hit parade, the Jays had at least 15 in eight contests this year.
"That's been the key, not only for me, but for our team all year," said Halladay, who has enjoyed an average of 7.9 runs from the Jays' offense per start this season. "It's been really nice. There's no question that's the reason we are where we are right now -- the way we're swinging the bats."
Having Halladay on the hill for such an overflow of offense certainly helps.
"It was nice to see the guys give him a lot of runs tonight so he could -- not relax out there -- but so he's not pitching for his life every time," Gaston said. "He's got some runs to play with in case he makes some mistakes.
"The guys kept swinging the bats and coming up with some big hits. I don't think we had a guy out there who didn't have a hit. Everybody had a hit or two."
Not only did every starter for the Jays have at least one hit, everyone in the lineup scored at least one run. There were five players with at least two hits for Toronto, with second baseman Aaron Hill leading the charge with a 3-for-5 showing, raising his season average to .366. There were also four Blue Jays who finished with at least two RBIs.
Before Halladay (6-1) took the mound for his latest outing, the Blue Jays had already jumped out to a two-run lead. In the first inning, Angels right-hander Anthony Ortega (0-2) -- chased after being charged with six runs in just 1 1/3 innings -- walked leadoff man Marco Scutaro and then yielded a two-run homer to Hill.
In the second inning, Toronto churned out two more runs on three hits off Ortega, who was pulled with runners on first and second base and one out. The Halos turned to reliever Rafael Rodriguez, who promptly allowed a three-run homer to Vernon Wells to increase the Blue Jays' advantage over the Angels (12-14) to 7-0.
Even with that lead, Halladay didn't stray from his planned approach.
"It's imperative, especially early on, you've got to stick with it," Halladay said. "You've got to be aggressive and you've got to pitch like it's a 0-0 game. If you start trying to pitch to the lead, you're going to find yourself in trouble, especially in the second inning. There are eight innings left. You're well aware that things can change."
Halladay spun eight strong innings, finishing with six strikeouts against two walks and 13 groundouts. After holding the Angels off the scoreboard for seven innings, Halladay took the hill in the eighth and surrendered one run -- courtesy of a single by pinch-hitter Jeff Mathis.
By that time, the Blue Jays had crossed home plate 13 times.
Following the early offensive onslaught, Toronto tacked on one run in the fifth and put up another five in the eighth. During the five-run outburst, Scott Rolen delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded and Lyle Overbay followed with a three-run homer to center field -- both hits coming against former Jays reliever Justin Speier.
Like Halladay, Toronto's offense refused to become complacent.
"That shows guys aren't satisfied," Halladay said. "They're continuing to play the game, and that's how you have to do it. You have to play for the full nine innings. The game is not won or lost in the second -- you have to play all nine. We did a good job of that."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.