Halladay makes former team pay
A wild argument at home plate overshadowed Roy Halladay’s return north of the border.
Halladay pitched an eight-hitter to beat his former team, Blue Jays manager John Farrell and reliever Jon Rauch were ejected and the Philadelphia Phillies beat Toronto 5-3 on Saturday.
Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 26th home run, but the Blue Jays still lost for the 10th time in 13 home games.
Chase Utley hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Phillies rallied to beat the Blue Jays for the second straight game.
Halladay (11-3) took the field in the bottom of the first to a standing ovation from the crowd of 44,078. A banner hanging above the wall in left field read ”Welcome Home, Doc. Please be gentle.” And although he didn’t throw a no-hitter or perfect game, he was his usual, stingy self.
”It was a cool experience for me, something I’ll never forget,” he said.
Nothing got Toronto’s fans fired up as much as the ninth-inning argument that led to two ejections.
Frustrated at home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez when Ryan Howard drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was called low, Rauch lost his temper after Shane Victorino followed with an RBI single, with Utley sliding home just ahead of left-fielder Corey Patterson’s throw.
Rauch had to be restrained by his manager as he argued with Marquez, with Rauch’s jersey getting pulled off in the struggle. Rauch fired his cap away in disgust as he headed into the dugout.
”The first thing I told the umpire is it’s a shame that he can’t have an ERA, because those runs are his,” Rauch said. ”I think he directly affected the outcome of the game.”
After calling Shawn Camp in from the bullpen, Farrell renewed the argument with Marquez and was also ejected, swiping the dirt around home plate with his hands and getting nose to nose with the ump before the rest of the crew came in to separate the pair. Fans threw debris onto center field and booed Marquez loudly for the remainder of the game.
For Rauch, the ejection was his first of the season. For Farrell, it was his second.
Farrell said Marquez has a ”pitcher’s strike zone.”
”That’s not being critical, that’s stating what we’ve experienced with him behind the plate,” Farrell said. ”I think he does a good job and the fact is, pitches similar to (the one to Howard) were called strikes throughout the course of the ballgame.”
The Phillies have won Halladay’s past nine starts, the longest streak of his brief Philadelphia career. The right-hander is 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA in that span.
”Doc is special,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ”He puts a lot into it and expects a lot out of himself.”
Halladay, who spent the first 12 years of his career with the Blue Jays before being traded to Philadelphia in December 2009, also received a standing ovation when he carried the lineup card to home plate before Friday’s series opener.
”I was definitely anxious warming up and walking out on the field,” Halladay said. ”It was definitely different. Once the game started I felt like it was a normal game. But the stuff beforehand, it’s hard to anticipate that kind of stuff.”
Halladay didn’t acknowledge the fans at any point, saying he did so out of respect for the Blue Jays and his reluctance to be ”the center of attention.”
Halladay walked one and struck out eight in his fifth complete game of the season, but needed some help from his offense to win this one. Philadelphia trailed 3-2 when Utley greeted reliever Luis Perez with a two-run homer to right in the seventh, his fourth.
The left-handed Perez (1-1) allowed one run and three hits in one inning.
Philadelphia opened the scoring with a run in the first off Blue Jays right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who was pitching on five days rest to keep his innings down before the All-Star break.
Jimmy Rollins walked and stole second, Placido Polanco walked and, one out later, Ryan Howard scored Rollins with a single to center. A passed ball put runners on second and third but Villanueva retired Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez on fly balls to end the inning.
Toronto tied it in the fourth when Bautista crushed a leadoff home run off the center field restaurant. Measured at 449 feet, it was the longest homer against Halladay this season, according to ESPN.
Villanueva sent down 11 in a row before Philadelphia regained the lead in the fifth. Ross Gload and Carlos Ruiz hit back-to-back singles and Rollins drove in Gload with a ground rule double to center.
Given the advantage, Halladay couldn’t hold it in the bottom half. Patterson led off with an infield single and went to third on Utley’s throwing error. One out later, John McDonald tied it with an RBI single through the left side. McDonald moved to second on Aaron Hill’s grounder and scored on a two-out single to shallow center by rookie outfielder Eric Thames.
Ruiz doubled to begin the seventh and Villanueva left to a large ovation after getting Rollins to fly out and Polanco to ground to short. Perez came on to face Utley, who drove a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right, his first homer since June 14 against Florida.
Notes: Phillies LHP Cole Hamels played catch again Saturday but did not throw his bullpen session as scheduled. Hamels, who left Thursday’s start after taking a line drive off his right palm, is expected to throw his bullpen Sunday and remains on track to start Tuesday. … After making his first career start at DH Friday, Rollins returned to shortstop Saturday. … A second opinion on Philadelphia RHP Roy Oswalt (back) confirmed the prognosis of a bulging disc. Oswalt is expected to be sidelined until August. … Phillies RHP Ryan Madson (bruised right hand) also played catch Saturday and is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week. … Toronto SS Yunel Escobar, who left Friday’s game after being hit on the left hand by a pitch, did not start. He is day-to-day. … Toronto designated INF Jayson Nix for assignment and recalled INF Mike McCoy from Triple-A Las Vegas.