TORONTO (AP) -
was good enough to keep the
Toronto Blue Jays
' faint playoff hopes alive.
Halladay worked six innings to earn his 19th win,
homered and the
Boston Red Sox
6-3 on Saturday.
Toronto pulled within 7 1/2 games of Boston in the wild-card race. The
have seven games remaining, and the
hit a two-run homer on his 30th birthday for the
, who provided a glimmer of hope to their wild-card pursuers.
(15-6) gave up five runs and eight hits in seven innings.
Boston fell 2 1/2 games back of AL East-leading Tampa Bay, which beat Minnesota 7-2, and its wild-card lead was cut to 6 1/2
New York Yankees
, who won 1-0 against Baltimore.
''We're still trying to catch Tampa,''
said. ''It would have been nice to have won today but we know we've still got (eight) more.''
Halladay (19-11) won for the first time in three starts, allowing three runs and six hits. He struck out three to give him
201 for the season, passing 200 for the second time in his career.
''He's always one pitch away from a double play,'' Boston manager
said. ''He sinks the ball so well, he cuts it. He threw a couple of changeups today. That's why he's got 19 wins. He's done
it against everybody. He's got tremendous stuff.''
A high pitch count kept Halladay from adding to his major league-leading 237 innings. Boston's batters worked him hard in
the early going.
''I don't think I was around the zone as much as I normally am,'' said Halladay, who threw 61 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
''I kind of compounded the problem myself. They're a good team. They're going to make you work either way.''
' RBI single gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the first, and the
added four more in the second. Rios drove in another run with a fielder's choice,
doubled home a pair and
had an RBI single as Toronto batted around.
''You can't spot a pitcher like Halladay five runs in the second inning and hope to have a chance to win,'' Lester said.
Boston cut it to 5-3 with a three-run third and put runners on second and third with two out in the eighth.
hit a sharp grounder up the middle but reliever
made a nice stop to end the inning.
''(Cora) was about two inches away from a hit,'' Francona said.
Rolen went deep in the bottom half against
, and B.J. Ryan finished for his 32nd save in 36 opportunities.
Lester struck out four and walked three in another shaky road outing. He is 10-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 16 starts at Fenway Park
this season, but just 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 road starts.
in the third and scored on Bay's ninth homer since he joined the
in a July 31 trade.
Notes: Boston OF J.D. Drew suffered back spasms while swinging Friday and remains unable to play. Drew, who has been sidelined
since Aug. 17, will be re-evaluated when Boston returns home Monday. ... Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 11 games
with a leadoff single in the first. ... Bay hit 22 homers with Pittsburgh before the deal. ... Halladay struck out 204 in
2003, when he won the AL Cy Young Award. ... Halladay and A.J. Burnett have combined for 37 wins this season, tying the highest
single-season total in
(16) combined for 37 wins in 1992. ... Halladay improved to 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in five starts against Boston this season.