- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2008

BALTIMORE | Following a victory well worth the wait, the Toronto Blue Jays used another strong outing by Roy Halladay to reach .500 and secure a rare series win on the road.

Halladay scattered seven hits over seven innings Thursday in a 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles after the Toronto bullpen nailed down a 5-1 victory in a game suspended one night earlier.

Halladay (12-7) allowed one run, struck out six and walked one. The right-hander took over the major league lead in innings pitched (159 1/3) and lowered his ERA to 2.82.

“He’s probably the best in the league,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “He makes pitches when he has to, and he’s got command of both sides of the plate. He’s exceptional.”

Halladay improved to 18-4 lifetime against the Orioles, who fell a season-worst five games under .500 (48-53).

Adam Lind and Marco Scutaro each had three hits and scored twice for the Blue Jays, who won three of four from Baltimore after losing their previous seven series on the road. Toronto went 4-3 on a swing that began in Tampa Bay and reached .500 (51-51) for the first time since June 14.

“Something we’ve been trying to do since I got here was get to .500 and we have managed to do it,” said manager Cito Gaston, now 16-12 since taking over for the fired John Gibbons on June 21. “Things didn’t start out too good on this road trip, but it turned out pretty good.”

Seven Blue Jays had hits, five players scored and the bullpen was perfect after Halladay departed.

“Everybody contributed. Doc did a great job and guys got hits with runners in scoring position and we played great defense,” Gaston said. “That’s what happens when you play as a team.”

Even Gregg Zaun snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a two-run single.

“I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had a hit,” the catcher said. “It was nice to finally get one to drop out there.”

The suspended game was halted by rain in the sixth inning Wednesday night after A.J. Burnett (11-9) allowed one run in five innings. Jesse Carlson started the sixth and got four straight outs, Shawn Camp retired the only two batters he faced to end the seventh and Scott Downs finished with two innings of two-hit ball.

“Let’s thank the bullpen,” Burnett said. “They came out and finished out what I started from the get-go.”

After watching his team score one run in 13 innings against Halladay and five relievers, Trembley summed up the lost afternoon in one succinct sentence: “I would say in the first game that their bullpen was exceptional, and then in the second game Halladay was outstanding.”

The regularly scheduled game also featured another poor outing by Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera (6-6), lifted in the sixth inning after giving up a season-high seven earned runs and 11 hits. Cabrera is 1-5 in 12 starts since May 20.

“It looked like everything I can throw out there, they can hit it like they know it’s coming. It’s tough,” the right-hander said. “It’s not mechanics. I think it’s the location or maybe my pitch selection.”

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