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Padilla outpitched in Rangers' loss

Padilla outpitched in Rangers' loss

TORONTO -- April came to a fitting and merciful end for the Rangers on Monday night.

Their offense, which struggled for much of the month, was shut down almost completely by Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay, and Rangers starter Vicente Padilla is still looking for his first victory after six starts.

Padilla was good, but Halladay was better as he pitched the Blue Jays to a 6-1 victory over the Rangers at Rogers Centre. The Rangers finished 2-4 on their road trip and 10-15 for the month of April.

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"I'm glad this month is over," manager Ron Washington said.

Padilla might be the first to join that chorus. He was 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA at the end of April last year, but this time around he is 0-4 with a 5.66 ERA after six starts.

"It's a little surprising to me," Padilla said. "Can you imagine, the last couple of years I started out winning and this year I can't even get my first win?"

Run support has had something to do with it. Padilla entered the game with the second-lowest run support in the American League and climbed into the top spot when Halladay was through with the Rangers. Padilla's teammates have scored just 2.57 runs per nine innings for him.

"This is the big leagues, and the season is six months long," Washington said. "You're going to have adversity and you have to deal with it. Just because he went 0-4 this month, he could be 4-0 next month. He's not going to quit and we're not going to quit either. If he's 5-4 at the end of next month, these four will be forgotten."

The Rangers did get Padilla a lead in the first inning when Kenny Lofton led off with a single, stole second and third and scored on Sammy Sosa's two-out double. But that would be all the Rangers could do against Halladay. He came into the game with a 5.77 ERA against them in his career, his highest against any AL opponent, but that was hardly relevant once he started rolling.

"He's always tough," shortstop Michael Young said. "Any success we've had in the past was due to us having consistent at-bats against him and having luck on our side. But he was certainly on top of his game tonight."

Halladay allowed just three hits after the first inning, did not walk a batter and struck out eight in his 26th career complete game. The Rangers finished April with a team batting average of .235, the fourth lowest for the month in club history.

"Two guys battling it out like that, you've got to scratch and claw and find a way to get a run or two," Rangers outfielder Brad Wilkerson said. "It was typical Halladay. He mixed his speeds and his pitches. When he's throwing all his pitches for strikes, it makes for a pretty tough night."

Padilla allowed just six hits over seven innings, but three of them were home runs and that's what cost him the game. He took his 1-0 lead into the second inning, but Troy Glaus, leading off the frame, reached down and away on a pitch and drove it over the right-field fence for a home run. It was his 34th career home run against the Rangers, the most by an active player.

"The first home run was a good pitch," Padilla said. "You have to give him credit for that one. He hit it out."

Matt Stairs then beat out an infield hit and Aaron Hill crushed a 1-0 fastball over the left-field wall to give the Blue Jays the lead. Padilla was trying to go down and away, and the ball stayed up over the middle of the plate.

"The worst was the second home run," Padilla said. "That was the difference in the game."

Adam Lind's seventh-inning home run gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead, but by that time Halladay was in complete control.

"You go against a guy like Roy, you've got to stay close," Washington said. "If you give him a couple of runs, he'll run to the finish line. That's why he is who he is. Doc Halladay, Cy Young Award winner."

The Blue Jays scored two more in the eighth off of reliever Scott Feldman, who might be replaced in the bullpen by right-hander Wes Littleton before Tuesday's game with the New York Yankees. Littleton joined the Rangers from Triple-A Oklahoma on Monday, but was not activated. Feldman has a 6.08 ERA.

"We talked about it, but haven't made a decision," Washington said. "I know [Feldman] has been struggling, but we have confidence in him."

The Rangers have confidence in Padilla, too, but this season they are winless in his first six starts.

"I don't know if it's frustration, but he wants to win and he wants to compete," catcher Gerald Laird said. "Maybe he's trying to do too much and he ends up making mistakes. But I told him I thought he threw the ball well."

He just wasn't good enough against Halladay.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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