Remaining in Toronto, perhaps through 2010. Watching Cliff Lee become the ace traded to Philadelphia. Then, allowing a season-high 11 hits in record-setting Seattle heat.
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Roy Halladay sure wasn’t expecting any of this when he woke up Wednesday.
“I’m going to lock myself in a room and hide,” the Blue Jays‘ trade-weary ace deadpanned.
Ken Griffey Jr. doubled twice against Halladay and drove in the decisive runs in the seventh inning, and the Seattle Mariners put more hits on the dominant right-hander than anyone had in 15 months while beating Toronto 3-2.
The Mariners won for the second consecutive time after a four-game losing streak. They got a solo home run from ailing Jose Lopez against Halladay (11-4), whom Toronto had declared open for bidding on the non-waiver trade market that closes Friday afternoon.
Rumors ran all morning from Seattle back to Toronto that Halladay would be scratched because of an imminent trade. Then the Phillies, thought to be the front-runners to obtain him, made a deal with Cleveland for Lee instead.
That left reports that Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who made the shopping of Halladay public with a huge asking price weeks ago, will now keep Halladay in Toronto through the end of his contract following the 2010 season.
So that’s the end of the trade saga?
“For me it is,” Halladay said, smiling. “It’s important for me to realize that my best chance is going to be (staying) here. … It’s somewhere I like, so that’s pretty easy for me.”
When asked if he was looking forward to finally being settled – apparently – Halladay said: “Absolutely. You never want that kind of circus.”
The surprising Mariners were swept by Cleveland last weekend, part of a dreadful four-game losing streak that seemingly ended their hopes of playoff contention.
The 39-year-old Griffey joked that he was able to endure the hottest day ever in Seattle – 102 degrees – by staying “inside in the AC and sipping Mountain Dew” as the DH. Then he lobbied first-year manager Don Wakamatsu to waive his rule that players wear ties on road trips.
Yes, the Mariners were cool and comfortable for their flight to Texas.
“Thanks, Skip,” Griffey told Wakamatsu, as Ichiro Suzuki and Mike Sweeney celebrated the coup.
Hobbled by a knee that’s been surgically repaired and drained since October, Griffey golfed the first pitch he saw from Halladay into the right-field corner in the seventh, after Seattle loaded the bases on three singles. Rookie Michael Saunders scored ahead of Suzuki, after laying down a bunt to start the inning – part of Wakamatsu’s plan to make Halladay work extra in the heat.
Griffey’s double tied him with Manny Ramirez for fifth among players since 1954 with his 177th game having at least two extra-base hits. They trail only Barry Bonds (246), Hank Aaron (203), Willie Mays (200) and Sammy Sosa (182).
It also made Halladay a loser for the third time in four decisions.
Ryan Rowland-Smith carried a no-hitter into the seventh in his third start of the season, before Aaron Hill singled leading off. Adam Lind then homered to give Toronto a 2-1 lead.
Rowland-Smith (1-1) angrily stomped and yelled at himself as Lind rounded the bases for the 21st time this season. Yet the Australian left-hander, delayed this season by an elbow injury and an ineffective, extended rehabilitation stint at Triple-A, rebounded to allow just three hits and the two runs in seven innings for his first win since Sept. 27.
David Aardsma walked Hill to begin the ninth, but struck out Lind looking and Scott Rolen swinging before retiring Alex Rios on a fielder’s choice for his 25th save in 27 chances.
“That was exciting for me, going to bed last night knowing I was pitching against a guy I really look up to,” Rowland-Smith said of Halladay, whom he admires for his tenacity and his endurance in games.
Now, Halladay may finally have some staying power in Toronto.
“For me, (Philadelphia) was never an option. I was going in planning on being a Blue Jay,” he said. “And that’s how I handled it.”
NOTES: Halladay last allowed 11 hits in a complete-game loss to Texas on April 17, 2008. His career high in hits allowed is 12. … INF Jack Wilson arrived in the Mariners‘ dugout just as Griffey hit his decisive double. “Pretty good first impression,” he said. Wilson was acquired by Seattle from Pittsburgh. The deal also sent SS Ronny Cedeno and C Jeff Clement to the Pirates for RHP Ian Snell.