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Halladay tosses six-hitter; Blue Jays snap skid, beat O's

TORONTO (AP) -- Roy Halladay was tired of watching the Blue Jays fall behind, try to rally and come up short.

So once he got the lead, Toronto's ace shut down Baltimore.

Halladay pitched a six-hitter to win his seventh straight decision and the Blue Jays ended a three-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday night.

"Lately, we always feel like we're coming from behind," Halladay said. "I just think that sometimes it's a little too much, so it's nice to have those games where you are leading the
whole time."

Staked to a 4-0 lead in the second, Halladay (8-1) pitched his third complete game of the season and 23rd of his career. The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed one run while striking out three and walking one. He's walked one batter in his last five starts.

Halladay gave his bullpen a much-needed rest.

"To be able to give them a day off is always nice," he said.

Halladay is a different pitcher than he was in 2003 when he struck out a career-high 204. He's had arm problems since, so now he looks to get quick groundouts instead of strikeouts.

"I just recognize the importance of getting ahead, being aggressive," Halladay said. "If it comes to a situation where I need to get a strikeout I can expand a little bit and move off the
plate, but for the most part I'm trying to get the guys off the field."

Halladay retired 20 of the last 22 batters he faced.

Vernon Wells homered and had three RBI to back Halladay, who hasn't lost since April 9 against Tampa Bay -- a span of 11 starts. Toronto is 11-2 when he pitches.

"He stops losing streaks," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "Every time he goes out there he's capable of shutting the other team down. It doesn't matter how good the other team is."

Miguel Tejada homered for the Orioles in the third inning for their only run. It was his 16th of the season.

Baltimore starter Adam Loewen (0-1) struggled in his first start in Canada. The native of Surrey, British Columbia, allowed seven runs -- five earned -- and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"If he doesn't give it up for hockey he'll be a good one," Gibbons quipped.

Loewen said he settled down after the first two innings. He retired 11 straight at one point.

"It wasn't so much nerves, it was excitement to come back and here and pitch. I grew up watching the Jays all my life so it was exciting for me. I wish I had a better result," Loewen said.

Wells hit a two-run homer in the first, his 16th.

After Loewen walked Wells with the bases loaded in the second, he threw a run-scoring wild pitch to give Toronto a 4-0 lead.

Toronto added three runs in the sixth on Russ Adams' two-run single and Reed Johnson's RBI double.

Game notes
Orioles right fielder Jay Gibbons left after the third inning after re-injuring his right knee. Gibbons was just activated from the
15-day disabled list on Monday after missing two weeks with hip and knee injuries. He's now day-to-day. ... Toronto has not dropped consecutive games with Halladay on the mound since losing three in a row from July 9-Sept. 21, 2004. ... Halladay is 12-4 in 21 career games against the Orioles.