The less than capacity crowd in St. Petersburg watch as Halladay, who had lost in each of the last two season openers, shut down the home team, tossing seven strong innings giving up 9 hits (four of those hits never left the infield) surrendering 2 earned runs.
Tampa Bay starter Dewon Brazelton had an equally strong start, limiting Jays hitters to five hits over seven and one-third innings charged with 3 runs, all earned. Two of those five hits were the difference in this one though. Orlando Hudson, the Jays second basemen jump-started the offence with a two-run shot to right field bringing home Frank Catalanotto who had doubled. The next batter, Vernon Wells, was next to tee-off on Brazelton, who, after working the count full, hit a moon shot that struck a catwalk high above the left field wall, to make it 3-1 Jays.
The D-Rays mounted their comeback in the bottom half of the fourth when Jorge Cantu drove a ball deep to left for a sac-fly, scoring Travis Lee, making it 3-2. They would try to add to that in the 8th, when Julio Lugo led off the inning with a single, chasing Halladay - but lefty specialist Scott Schoeneweis, got Aubrey Huff to ground into a 3-6 fielder’s choice and struck out Travis Lee with a hard slider.
New Jays first baseman Eric Hinske hit a 2-Run homer as well for the blue birds in the 9th inning off of Jesus Colome to straight-away center field, increasing the lead to 5-2 before Miguel Batista recorded the last four outs of the game for the save.
Tuesday night’s game will feature two young lefties as Scott Kazmir will take the ball for for the home team, while the Jays counter with Gustavo Chacin. Chacin who had a memorable season last year accumulating 19 wins with stops at Double-A New Hampshire, Triple-A Syrcause, and finally winning his major league debut at Yankee stadium versus New York.
The game Tuesday can be seen on TSN at 7PM EST and on the The Fan 590AM.
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