TORONTO (AP) -
has never made the playoffs in 11 seasons with the
Toronto Blue Jays
. He still remains convinced his team is on the right track and he is certainly doing his part.
Halladay pitched his major league-leading ninth complete game to become the American League's second 20-game winner and the
New York Yankees
8-2 on Thursday night.
homered and drove in four runs as Toronto snapped the Yankees' seven-game winning streak.
Halladay (20-11) improved to 5-1 in six starts against the Yankees this season and posted his second career 20-win season.
The right-hander went 22-7 with nine complete games in 2003, when he won the AL
Halladay, who joined Cleveland's
as a 20-game winner, gave up two runs and six hits. He walked one and struck out five, giving him 206 for the season, a career-high.
''All you've got to do is take a look at his numbers and know that he's probably the best starter in baseball,'' said New
, who went 3-for-4. ''Without a doubt he's one of the best, if not the best, starter in the league.''
Halladay's gem came hours after the
announced that manager
had signed a two-year contract extension, and that general manager J.P. Ricciardi would return in 2009. Toronto has not reached
the postseason under Ricciardi, who was hired before the 2002 season.
Halladay is pleased that Gaston and Ricciardi will be back next spring.
''I like what Cito has done in the time he's been here,'' Halladay said. ''I think we've gone in some good directions and
I've always trusted J.P. There's probably been times when as players we've underachieved and I think that reflects poorly
on him, but that wasn't necessarily his decision-making. I like that they're coming back. I feel confident the organization
will continue to go the right way.''
Wells hit a two-run homer in the third and added a two-run single in the fourth as the
closed out the home portion of their schedule with a 47-34 record.
(4-2) allowed five runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since coming off the disabled list last month.
''I got myself into a quite a few jams I couldn't get out of,'' Pavano said. ''It's a game of making pitches when you need
to and I didn't. I was up, the ball was up. These last couple of starts, the ball has been flat and I've been getting myself
into jams, getting out of jams.''
It was likely the final start in a Yankees uniform for Pavano, whose four-year, $40-million contract expires after the season.
The oft-injured right-hander went 9-8 in 26 starts for New York.
''It's been crazy,'' Pavano said of his time with the Yankees. ''It seems like I've just been fighting an uphill battle. That's
part of the adversity that comes with this game, that's part of life. Nothing is ever going to run smoothly. I think I dealt
with it the best I could, I made adjustments where I needed to. What are you going to do? You just keep moving forward.''
Of greater concern to the Yankees was the health of closer
, who returned to New York on Thursday for an MRI on his shoulder. He'll rejoin the team Friday in Boston, and manager
said he expects Rivera to be available.
Before the game, Girardi said Rivera had told him that ''his whole body was a little cranky,'' but general manager Brian Cashman
told reporters that Rivera had complained of a sore shoulder.
The Yankees opened the scoring in the third when Gardner doubled and scored on
Wells put Toronto ahead with his 18th homer in the bottom half, and the
chased Pavano with a three-run fourth.
hit an RBI single,
reached on a fielder's choice and
walked before Wells ended Pavano's night with a two-run single to left.
New York got one back in the fifth, with
grounded into a double play, but the
added two in the bottom half against reliever
singled before consecutive doubles by
made it 7-2.
Scutaro made it 8-2 with an RBI single in the seventh against
The Yankees held
out of the lineup, with Ransom,
starting instead. Cervelli made his major league debut behind the plate. Girardi said he will put his regulars back in the
lineup at Boston on Friday.
Notes: New York and Toronto split the season series 9-9. ... The crowd of 44,346 pushed Toronto's total attendance to 2,399,786.