Halladay pitched eight strong innings to became the first Toronto Blue Jay to win nine consecutive starts and
hit his major league-leading 21st homer in an 8-5 victory over the slumping
Clemens, now with the
New York Yankees
, and Halladay had shared the team record for wins in consecutive starts.
"It meant a lot to me," Halladay said. "To have a guy like that do it here is special. "I'm really fortunate during this whole thing."
While Halladay has 46 career wins and has a long way to go to catch up with Clemens' 299, he has been among the best pitchers in baseball over the last five weeks.
Halladay (9-2) has not lost since April 15 against the Yankees and was the beneficiary of four homers by the
Delgado, who barely missed a homer in the first inning, capped the scoring for Toronto with a homer in the eighth off
to give the
an 8-1 lead.
By that time, Halladay already had completed an efficient night's work. The righthander scattered eight hits, walked one and struck out nine. He has pitched into the seventh inning in each of the starts during the streak.
"I think over the course of nine games there have been times where the offense has picked me up, so the (club record) is really for everyone," Halladay said.
have won four of their last five contests.
"Usually when you have the hottest pitcher in baseball, you're winning games," Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. "He's been great for us and we're playing well both offensively and defensively right now."
Pittsburgh made the score respectable by combining for four runs in the ninth off
. Their only run off Halladay came on an RBI groundout by
in the third.
The Pirates (25-37) lost for the seventh time in eight games and dropped a season-low 12 games under .500. One of the few bright spots was
, who had three hits to extend his career-high hitting streak to 22 games.
"We've still got a lot of baseball to go," Giles said. "I'm confident with my team and I think we can get some better results as we go, but on the same hand it's also disappointing because we haven't been able to put up the wins that we should be."
scored three times in the first two innings.
had singles in the first before Delgado drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly.
Hudson and Woodward, the seventh and eighth hitters in the order, each hit their fourth homer of the season to right field with one out in the second.
"Sometimes the top of the order doesn't get it going and get the hits so it's nice to have the bottom of the order pick up the slack," said Hudson, who had three hits.
The pair combined for a run in the fourth when Hudson singled and scored on a double to right-center field by Woodward that made it 4-1.
Johnson hit his fifth homer in the fifth off Reed to increase the lead to 5-1.
D'Amico lost his third straight start, allowing seven runs and nine hits in five innings.
added a pair of runs in the sixth. Hudson had an RBI single and
scored when Woodward grounded into a double play.