Blue Jays 7 Orioles 3
TORONTO — Like any pitcher, Roy Halladay appreciates some early run support.
Kevin Millar, Marco Scutaro and Vernon Wells homered and Toronto put up five runs in the first three innings as the Blue Jays cruised to a 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in Sunday’s rubber match of a three-game series.
“It makes a big difference to get those runs early,“ said Halladay, making his second start since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline passed with him still in a Toronto uniform.
The Blue Jays ace won his first decision since July 19 in front of a crowd of 27,464 at Rogers Centre.
Halladay (12-5) allowed three runs — two of them earned — on nine hits and a walk, to go along with four strikeouts over eight innings.
“I think you try to pitch the same (with a lead) but it’s definitely different,” Halladay said. “I think you realize that mistakes won’t cost you as much. I think you go at it the same but when you do give up a run or two though it’s not as frustrating afterwards.
“Sometimes I think when you score early it kind of takes the wind out of the other team.”
Halladay is 20-4 with a 2.89 earned-run average in 31 career games against the Orioles.
“I think we’ve had pretty good games offensively against them and it’s made a big difference,” Halladay said.
Jason Frasor pitched a scoreless ninth for Toronto.
Baltimore left-hander Brian Matusz (1-1), the fourth player taken in the 2008 draft, allowed seven hits and five runs in 2 2-3 innings in his second major-league start.
The 22-year-old Matusz was bounced in Toronto’s four-run third after two-run homers from Scutaro and Wells.
Scutaro ended the afternoon going 4-for-5 and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Millar’s sixth homer of the season tied the game 1-1 in the second inning.
An error by Scutaro at shortstop in the top of the third led to an unearned run on a double by Cesar Izturis as Baltimore took a 2-1 lead.
Scutaro made amends in the bottom of the inning, smacking his career-best 10th homer of the season. Vernon Wells followed that up with his 12th of the year.
The Blue Jays scored a total of eight runs in Halladay’s past four losses.
In his past two wins, 3-1 over the Boston Red Sox on July 19 and 4-0 over the Kansas City Royals on June 7, he pitched nine innings.