April 25, 2007
Partnership takes chargeWells, Halladay lead by example
By KEN FIDLIN -- Sun Media
BOSTON -- Nothing is sure in baseball, but there are some certainties about the structure of the Blue Jays.
This is Vernon Wells' team and this is Roy Halladay's team. Seldom has that partnership been more evident than last evening in front of the largest crowd -- 37,161 -- to see a game at Fenway Park in more than 60 years.
Wells was the engine that drove the Toronto offence and Halladay pitched an absolute gem as the Jays finished off a mini two-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox with a 10-3 victory.
The Jays had come to Boston in the throes of a five-game losing streak while the Sox were on a five-game winning streak. Now both streaks are forgotten.
"There is no tougher place to play than here and Yankee Stadium, where we're heading next," manager John Gibbons said. "I mean, we came here limping. But we were also due and we're still a good ball club."
While back-to-back wins made for a lively Toronto clubhouse, the Jays left Fenway without their first-string catcher, Gregg Zaun, who took a foul tip on his throwing hand in the first inning and is expected to go on the disabled list today. He left last night for Baltimore where a hand specialist will evaluate his injury.
Sal Fasano will join the club from Syracuse and be ready to play tonight in New York.
Wells ignited the Toronto offence last night with four hits in five at-bats, including a solo homer in the first to get things started. He drove in three runs and scored four. In all, Wells went 6-for-9 in the series with seven runs of Toronto's 17 in total.
Meanwhile, Halladay, not overpowering early, was the beneficiary of all that run support to earn his third win of the year, limiting the Sox to five hits without issuing a walk through eight innings. Halladay seemed to get stronger as the game went on. After he gave up a fourth-inning homer to Mike Lowell, he retired the last 14 men he faced and finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts, including five of his last six hitters.
"Once we scored some runs, it's important to bear down hard because you don't get that kind of chance in this park," Halladay said. "You have to challenge this (Boston) lineup. I felt like my curveball was better than it has been all year. That was a big key.
"It's nice to see the character of the team to go through those losses and come here and play as well as we did."
As for the offence, Wells was happy not only for himself but for the rest of the middle of the order, including Frank Thomas and Lyle Overbay, who delivered last night. Thomas had another two-hit, two-RBI night and Overbay drove in two more with a key double.
"We guys in the middle of the lineup started to do our part here and that's fun," Wells said. "We need to continue that."
The Jays broke open a one-run game, scoring twice in the fifth and four times in the sixth combining a strong attack with a sloppy defensive effort by Boston, which committed four errors, on a night when some additional seating went on sale to create the record crowd.