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Toronto pounds D-Ray pitching for 20 hits

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- When Orlando Hudson's bloop hit fell
in shallow right field for an RBI single in the third inning, Mark
Hendrickson figured he and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were in for a
long day against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The left-hander, facing his former team for the first time, just
didn't know how long.

"It's baseball. What can you do?" Hendrickson said after the
Blue Jays got a season-high 20 hits in a 14-0 victory Thursday.

Toronto scored seven runs on eight hits in three-plus innings
against Hendrickson, who thought he wasn't hit that hard.

"It's unfortunate against this team because I was pretty
prepared to give them my best, and I'm sure likewise they were the
same," he said. "It felt like everything was sharp. I wasn't
getting too frustrated. I was just kind of laughing a little bit.
Realistically, there's nothing you can do."

Eric Hinske had three hits and drove in three runs in support of
right-hander Miguel Batista.

Batista (7-5) has won seven of his last nine decisions after
going winless in his first seven starts. The right-hander allowed
five singles in seven sharp innings, struck out three and walked
one. The Blue Jays have posted shutouts in three of his last five
outings.

The closest Tampa Bay came to scoring was the second inning,
when Batista struck out Geoff Blum to get out of a jam with the
bases loaded. Terry Adams pitched the eighth and Kerry Ligtenberg
the ninth to finish the five-hitter.

Hudson, Josh Phelps, Dave Berg and Reed Johnson all drove in two
runs apiece for the Blue Jays.

"Don't be looking for 20 hits, 14 runs every game. That's not
going to happen in baseball," Hudson said. "We just hope to keep
grinding it out, keep throwing the ball well, keep swinging the bat
well."

The margin of victory was the biggest for Toronto since an 18-1
win at Kansas City on May 16, 2003. Hendrickson, 9-9 with a 5.51
ERA as a rookie for the Blue Jays last season, was the winning
pitcher that day.

The Devil Rays lost for just the fourth time in their last 21
games. They were a major league-best 20-5 in June, and by splitting
four games with Toronto are 9-1-2 in their last 12 series.

"It wasn't a good day. It was ugly," Tampa Bay manager Lou
Piniella said. "Sometimes you get beat 14-0 and get it out of the
way. ... It's one game. It's one loss. Now what we need really is
to come back with a nice, respectable road trip."

The Devil Rays went 4-3 on their homestand, capping a remarkable
six-week stretch that's turned their season around.

Starting pitching was the culprit in all three losses. Tampa Bay
outscored the opposition 18-8 in the four victories and was
outscored 29-4 in the three losses.

"I told people we weren't out of the woods. These things are
going to happen time to time," Piniella said.

"There were many times last year and early this season where a
4-3 homestand would have been acceptable. This one is, too, but
everybody expects a little more."

All of Phelps' and Berg's RBI came against Hendrickson (5-6),
who made his first start against his former team since being
obtained by Tampa Bay in an offseason trade that also involved
Colorado.

The Blue Jays scored on Berg's RBI double and Hudson's bloop
single in the third, then added five runs -- two of them unearned --
against the 6-foot-9 Hendrickson in the fourth.

Phelps doubled with the bases loaded to drive in the first two
runs in the fourth. Frank Menechino also had an RBI single, and the
other two runs scored on a fielder's choice and Hinske's grounder
to first base.

Berg's run-scoring single off Bartolome Fortunato made it 8-0 in
the fifth. The Blue Jays added two in the eighth off Trever Miller
on Hudson's RBI triple and Johnson's groundout.

Hinske had a two-run single in Toronto's four-run ninth against
Jorge Sosa. Johnson and Gregg Zaun each added an RBI single.

Game notes
Menechino had a career-high four hits. ... In his last two
starts, Hendrickson has allowed 11 runs (nine earned) and 13 hits
in seven innings. ... Blue Jays 1B Carlos Delgado, out since May 30
with a ribcage injury, is expected to return this weekend against
Montreal in his native Puerto Rico. ... By going 20-5 in June, the
Devil Rays became the first team in the majors to win 20 in a month
since Oakland went 20-9 last August. ... The Blue Jays have allowed
eight earned runs in their last seven victories, compared to 52 in
their last six losses.