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Halladay 5-hits Yanks to lead Toronto over former Blue Jay Burnett

TORONTO -- Roy Halladay wasn't about to get too caught up in his showdown with A.J. Burnett. Instead, the Toronto ace did what he always does -- shut down the New York Yankees.

Halladay pitched a five-hitter to best his former teammate and Scott Rolen had three hits and three RBIs for the Blue Jays in a 5-1 victory Tuesday night.

"That's a big part of being consistent, having the same approach and not letting those things affect the way you look at games," Halladay said of facing Burnett, who pitched for Toronto from 2006 to 2008. "As soon as you start changing the way you approach the game you can find yourself in trouble."

Aaron Hill hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who improved to an AL-best 23-12. They lead New York, which was playing without shortstop Derek Jeter, by 6 1/2 games.

Halladay (7-1) walked none and struck out five to win his fourth straight start and improve to 16-5 in 33 career games against New York. He has an ERA of 2.77 against the Yankees, his best against any AL opponent.

"He showed why he's the best around and why he's going to continue to be the best around," New York outfielder Johnny Damon said.

Alex Rodriguez had a run-scoring single in the seventh for the Yankees, his first RBI since hitting a three-run homer in his first at-bat since returning from hip surgery Friday.

Yankees designated hitter Hideki Matsui left the game in the fifth with a tight right hamstring and is day to day.

"When he came out of the box in the [second] inning he felt his right hamstring tighten up so we took him out," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "He didn't feel like he strained anything but it was tight so we felt like we had to get him out."

Jeter was scratched with a sore right oblique, an injury that has bothered him for the past week, and was replaced by Ramiro Pena. Girardi said Jeter could return to the lineup Wednesday.

"I've pulled that muscle before and [ended up on] the disabled list," Jeter said. "That's two or three weeks. We're trying to avoid that. Hopefully this extra day helped."

Burnett (2-1) allowed five runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings and has not won since April 14.

Burnett's reception Tuesday was in stark contrast with his last outing in Toronto. On Sept. 24, he was given a standing ovation and a curtain call after working eight innings against the Yankees. But after going 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA and 231 strikeouts in 2008, Burnett opted out of the final two years of his contract and signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with New York.

With that defection still stinging, a boisterous crowd of 43,737, Toronto's biggest since opening day, singled out both Burnett and Rodriguez with a cascade of boos.

"It was what I expected," Burnett said. "Any time you opt out of a contract like that and go somewhere else, you're going to get that."

Alex Rios led off the Toronto third with a double before walks to Vernon Wells and Adam Lind loaded the bases for Rolen, who hit a two-run double down the third-base line. One out later, Lind scored on Rod Barajas' shallow sacrifice fly to right, sliding home safely when catcher Kevin Cash dropped the one-hop throw from Melky Cabrera.

Damon was thrown out in the first by left fielder Travis Snider trying to stretch a single. Halladay retired the next 17 batters, a streak that ended with Damon's one-out double in the seventh. One out later, Rodriguez hit an RBI single.

Game notes
RHP Chien-Ming Wang allowed three hits in six shutout innings in his first rehab start at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday night. GM Brian Cashman and Girardi planned to discuss Wang's status late Tuesday or early Wednesday. ... Yankees RHP Ian Kennedy (aneurysm) had shoulder surgery in New York on Tuesday. Kennedy will remain in the hospital for the next couple of days and should begin throwing again in six to eight weeks. ... Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said LHP B.J. Ryan (muscle tightness in his back and shoulder) could rejoin the team this weekend but said LHP Scott Downs will remain Toronto's closer. Downs is 3 for 3 in save opportunities since Ryan went on the DL on April 23.