07/30/08 1:15 AM ET
Jays waste strong Halladay start
Ace righty gives up three runs, but offense quiet vs. Rays
By David Singh / MLB.com
The ace righty did not receive much offensive support from his team -- a continuing theme it seems -- as he was forced to absorb yet another hard-luck loss.
Halladay has been frustrated at times this year with his team's inability to consistently win ballgames. During the All-Star break, the Toronto starter admitted to reporters that he found it difficult to deal with the fact that this season, just as in years past, the team has not displayed much progression in terms of being a contender.
Last week, an article in The Newark Star-Ledger took Halladay's comments a step further and suggested that he had become disgruntled with the club and wanted out of Toronto.
Following Tuesday's loss, Halladay set the record straight about his feelings toward the Jays.
"It's frustrating that comments like that get turned around on you but I've never gone to management," Halladay stated. "I'm not going anywhere, I'm happy here and I don't know how many times I can say it in different ways.
"I hope people understand it, but those comments were based on us as players. ... How it's frustrating, how we haven't been able to figure out how to win. It had nothing to do with the front office or being unhappy here. There's never been any of those conversations. It's frustrating that you try and clear things up but it just didn't get through."
In Tuesday's game, Halladay (12-8) was his usual self, dominating the Rays for eight innings. He allowed three runs on six hits, walking three and striking out eight.
However, as has been the case many times this year, Halladay was the victim of poor run support. In his eight losses this year, the Jays have only scored 13 runs.
Toronto couldn't muster any offense against Rays starter Matt Garza, who looked sharp during his first career shutout. Through his first 7 2/3 innings, the right-hander did not allow a Blue Jays batter to reach second base. Garza (9-6) walked one and struck out five, needing just 106 pitches to finish the outing.
"I said from the beginning, he's a good pitcher," said Jays manager Cito Gaston of the Rays starter. "We were going to have to be on our game and he pitched a great game. He located his fastball well. He's pretty much a fastball pitcher. He threw a lot of fastballs inside and outside. When you can locate your fastball, that's means you're going to pitch well."
Garza has been somewhat of a thorn in Toronto's side of late. The right-hander got the better of Halladay on July 19, going 7 2/3 shutout innings to collect the victory.
"He pitched well for them," Halladay said. "He's done it twice now. You have got to tip your hat sometimes. He did a good job against us today and pitched well."
Halladay managed to keep the Jays within a run for the game's first seven innings. But his first mistake of the game was a costly one, an 0-1 pitch to former Blue Jay Eric Hinske in the third.
Hinske launched the offering just over the center-field wall for his 15th home run of the season and 100th of his career. The homer was a strange play as it was initially believed to be an inside-the-park homer.
Hinske's shot bounced off the cement beyond the outfield wall, and rolled back onto the field. With the ball in no-man's land in the outfield, Jays center fielder Alex Rios and right fielder Brad Wilkerson did not pick it up, while Hinske was sprinting around the bases. What no one pointed out to some players on the field, including the Jays starter, was that the call was originally ruled a traditional out-of-the park homer by crew chief and first-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.
"I didn't see it from where I was," said Halladay. "It's just one of those weird plays."
The Rays were able to pad their lead in the eighth inning, when Rays third baseman Evan Longoria clubbed a triple to the right-center-field gap, driving in two runs and pushing the Rays' lead to 3-0. In Halladay's last start against the Rays, on July 19, Longoria hit a grand slam off the Toronto starter, which led the Rays to a 6-4 victory.
"He's definitely a good player," Halladay said of Longoria. "A good young hitter, but not seeing him a whole lot, you're still kind of feeling your way through it, getting to learn guys. But he's a good hitter. He makes good adjustments.
"You definitely can't pitch him the same way all the time, you have got to do some different things and obviously for me, I'm still trying to figure out the right combination."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.