Roy Halladay was simply masterful.
Halladay pitched a one-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 6-0 victory in Toronto, snapping the Yankees' seven-game winning streak. New York remained 7-1/2 games ahead of Boston in the AL East, but its magic number dropped to 21 following the Red Sox's 12-2 loss to the White Sox.
The previous two times the Yankees faced Halladay, they won both games, hitting three homers in each game. The odds of that happening again were slim, especially with Halladay on a three-game losing streak for just the third time in his career.
The former Cy Young Award winner was dominant from the start Friday. Halladay (14-8, 2.98 ERA) walked just three and threw 73 of 111 pitches for strikes. We saw the reason why there was so much intrigue about the guy when the Blue Jays dangled him before the July 31 trade deadline.
The only trouble he ran into was in the sixth, when with one out Ramiro Pena broke up the no-hitter with a double. After Johnny Damon popped out, Eric Hinske and Mark Teixeira both walked to load the bases.
But Alex Rodriguez couldn't do anything with Halladay, striking out on a 1-and-2 fastball.
Meanwhile, Joba Chamberlain (8-5, 4.41) was simply bad in his abbreviated joke of a start. There is no other way to put it. He allowed three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and two walks. He stuck out just two and three 36 of 59 pitches for strike -- and he was hit hard.
The new Joba Plan appears to be working no better than the old Joba Plan and what's worse, Joba is showing absolutely no signs of pitching like he did in winning three straight out of the All-Star break.
What's worse is the bullpen is getting drained. Mark Melancon, Jonathan Albaladejo, Michael Dunn and Edwar Ramirez ate the final five innings in this one, with Dunn walking three and allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning in his major league debut.
That was on the heels of 5-2/3 the night before in short spot start by Chad Gaudin. That goodness its September the rosters are expanded.
But with a double header Monday and Sergio Mitre scheduled to pitch Sunday, that means there still is a lot of pressure on Andy Pettitte to go at least seven innings today.
Otherwise the Yanks could be in for a tough stretch.
Runners In Scoring Position
Since A-Rod's Return May 8
Vs. Red Sox
Saturday at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m., YES
Pettitte (12-6, 4.03) vs. Brett Cecil (6-3, 5.42)
Pettitte is coming of a brilliant eight-inning stint in which he allowed one hit against the Orioles. The Yankees would love for him to replicate that.