Halladay wins in possible final start for Jays
If this was Roy Halladay's final start for the Blue Jays, he made it a good one.
Halladay pitched a six-hitter to win for the first time since June 7 and Rod Barajas drove in three runs, leading Toronto past the Boston Red Sox 3-1 on Sunday.
"He's the best pitcher I've ever had the chance to catch," Barajas said.
Halladay (11-3) could also be the biggest prize available before the July 31 trade deadline. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said this month he would field offers for the 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner, who is signed through 2010.
"I stand by what I said the other day," Red Sox manager Terry Francona joked. "They should have traded him the other day, and to a National League team."
Pitching at home for the first time since Ricciardi's comments, Halladay turned in a vintage performance. He struck out six and walked none, lowering his ERA to 2.73.
After addressing the trade speculation at last week's All-Star game, where he started for the American League, Halladay put all the talk behind him as he focussed on the second half.
"As much as a circus as that was, it kind of allowed me to get back here and just kind of put it out of mind and get back to my job," Halladay said. "It's hard to do. You do hear those things, but you've got to do the best you can to put it out of mind and focus on what you're doing."
With 36,534 fans on their feet, Halladay tipped his cap to the crowd as he headed back to the dugout following the final out. He insisted it wasn't a wave goodbye.
"You have to kind of live in the moment and that's all I'm trying to do," Halladay said. "It has nothing to do with looking down the road. It's just a matter of the fans were excited, they were cheering and that's all it was."
Halladay retired his final 11 batters and threw 78 of 105 pitches for strikes in his 44th career complete game and fourth this season.
"We're a team that, a lot of the time, works counts and takes pitches," Boston slugger Jason Bay said. "There's a few guys that's not really conducive for and (Halladay) is one of them. You look at his strike-to-ball ratio and it's ridiculous. It's one of those things where you're not going to wait him out and work a walk."