Jays' Halladay (6-1) picks up fifth straight victory

TORONTO (AP) -- Roy Halladay is healthy and dominating like he was in 2003 when he won the AL Cy Young Award.

Halladay won his fifth straight decision, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Halladay (6-1) hasn't lost since skipping a start in mid-April because of a strained right forearm.

"He's arguably the best pitcher in the game," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You can't rattle him."

Toronto's ace allowed one run and seven hits, matching a season-high with seven strikeouts and walking none in coming within one out of his 23rd career complete game.

Fans booed when Gibbons replaced him with B.J. Ryan.

Halladay wanted to get the last out, but knew he was going hitter to hitter with Ryan warming up in the bullpen.

Halladay got 13 groundball outs.

"The first two pitches I'm looking for an out, ground ball or a fly ball out," Halladay said. "I'm trying to get quick outs. I've never been a big believer from the very first pitch trying to strike a guy out. Normally, you end up behind in that situation."

Ryan came on with a runner on first and two outs and earned his 11th save in 11 chances.

Toronto has won Halladay's last seven starts, including a victory on May 13 against the Devil Rays in which he allowed three hits and one run in a complete game.

"It's almost boring playing behind him," Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells said. "He makes it easy."

The Blue Jays fell out of contention last year after Halladay suffered a season-ending leg injury in July.

"We really missed him last year after we lost him," Gibbons said. "He's a cornerstone guy. You need those guys, especially when they are on the mound."

Gibbons is giving Halladay an extra day's rest before his next start. He will pitch Monday against AL East rival Boston.

Shea Hillenbrand homered for the Blue Jays, who have won two straight after losing three in a row.

The Devil Rays fell to 0-2 on their season-long 10-game trip.

"He did what he does," Tampa Bay's Damon Hollins said of Halladay. "We got some balls to fall in and some guys in scoring position but he bears down and gets tougher. With a guy like that you have to scrape something together."

Greg Norton's RBI grounder gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead in the second, but Hillenbrand led off the bottom of the inning with a homer off Mark Hendrickson (3-4).

Vernon Wells singled in the third and scored on Troy Glaus' RBI double to left.

"Typical Doc. You give him a lead he's going to shut you down," Gibbons said.

Halladay retired nine straight after getting the lead.

Toronto's John McDonald and Reed Johnson hit consecutive singles
in the seventh before Alex Rios extended his hitting streak to 10
games with an RBI single off Shawn Camp.

Wells followed with a sacrifice fly to give Toronto a 4-1 lead.

Hendrickson allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings
against his former team.

Game notes
Fans cheered when it was shown on the videoboard that the
Toronto Raptors won the first overall pick in the NBA draft. ...
Toronto has won four straight at home overall and four in a row
over the Devil Rays. ... Tampa Bay handed Halladay his only loss
this season, a 5-2 defeat on April 9. ... The Devil Rays fell to
8-15 away from Tropicana Field. ... Hendrickson began his career
with the Blue Jays, going 12-9 from 2002-03 before being traded to
Tampa Bay.