TORONTO (AP) -- Roy Halladay is the perfect go-to guy for Major League Baseball's efforts to speed up the pace of games.
Halladay won for the third time in four starts, Marco Scutaro matched a career high with four RBIs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Kansas City 7-1 on Friday night, handing the Royals their fifth straight loss.Friday was the first day umpires were asked to crack down on batters who are slow getting into the box, pitchers who dawdle on the mound and relievers who sneak extra warm-up pitches in the bullpen before entering games.As usual, there was no cause for concern with Halladay (5-5), who needed just 2:14 to throw his major league-leading fifth complete game, his first since a run of four straight ended April 29 at Boston."I try to get back on the rubber and throw the ball," Halladay said, before smiling and adding "Hopefully I'm under the time limit."Halladay led the majors with seven complete games last season. He's 8-3 in 13 career starts against Kansas City."He was very good tonight," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "He had good action to his pitches, threw a lot of strikes and when he missed, he missed in non-dangerous places. That's what makes him so effective."Tampa Bay's James Shields and Milwaukee's Ben Sheets each have two complete games this season, but no other pitcher has more than one.Royals outfielder David DeJesus said there's no easy way to attack Halladay when he's on."He's smart because he knows if you start aggressive, he'll throw it in the strike zone and sink it out of the zone," DeJesus said. "If you're not as aggressive, he'll just pound that strike zone and you're 0-1, 0-2 already. It's one of those things where you have to find that happy medium, and with a guy like that it's hard to find."Kansas City starter Zack Greinke (5-2) allowed a season-high six runs on nine hits in five innings, matching his shortest outing this year. He walked two and struck out two."They hit inside fastballs, outside fastballs, breaking balls in the zone and out of the zone," Greinke said. "There wasn't much I could do to them. They were just squaring up the ball a lot."In a matchup of the American League's two lowest-scoring offenses, the light-hitting Scutaro did the most damage, connecting for two-run singles in his first two at-bats.Scutaro is batting .365 (19-for-52) since taking over at shortstop after David Eckstein and John McDonald were both injured in the same game, May 6 against Tampa Bay."He's been huge for us, keeping us afloat," Halladay said. "He's come through in some big spots."It was only the fourth time this season that Toronto has won by more than three runs, and the big lead made life easier on Halladay."I didn't feel like I was as sharp as I've ever been but I was able to be aggressive because of the runs we'd scored," he said.Kansas City's run came in the first when DeJesus singled, stole second and scored on a hit by Jose Guillen.That was all for the Royals as Halladay allowed just two singles the rest of the way and set down 22 of 23 to end it after Tony Pena's base hit in the second."It's just one of those days where everything seemed to go the right way," Halladay said. "It's nice to be able to do that."Halladay's last start came May 14 at Minnesota, but he pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief at Philadelphia last Sunday in a game that featured two rain delays. It was his first relief appearance since July 2, 2001, at Boston.Toronto erased the 1-0 deficit in the second when Scott Rolen and Lyle Overbay singled, advanced on Kevin Mench's groundout and scored on Scutaro's single up the middle.The Blue Jays piled on Greinke with a four-run third. Shannon Stewart singled and scored on Alex Rios' double. Rolen walked and Overbay singled home Rios before Mench walked and Scutaro lined an 0-2 pitch up the middle.Rios scored Toronto's seventh run when Mench hit into a bases-loaded double play in the seventh.Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill made the defensive play of the night, running into short right to make a diving catch of Billy Butler's fly ball in the seventh.Coming into play Friday, only Washington (183), San Francisco (171) and San Diego (166) had scored fewer runs than Kansas City (177) and Toronto (185).
Halladay won his 116th game, tying him with Jimmy Key for third on Toronto's career list. ... Blue Jays DH Matt Stairs (stiff neck) missed his second straight game. ... Eckstein (hip flexor) could be activated off the DL Monday, manager John Gibbons said, while McDonald (ankle) is expected to begin a rehab assignment the same day.