Devil Rays 10, Blue Jays 1

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Victor Zambrano made pitching out of trouble look easy.

Zambrano threw seven scoreless innings, and Julio Lugo homered and tied a career high with five RBIs as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-1 Monday night.

Zambrano (9-5) allowed seven hits in winning for the eighth time since June 1. Only Toronto’s Roy Halladay, with nine, has more wins during that stretch in the AL.

The right-hander held the Blue Jays to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“Victor had a little tough time, but you’ve got to give him credit, he battled back,” Lugo said. “He had some tough situations and he made good pitches at the right time.”

Toronto was just 1-of-14 overall with runners in scoring position and tied a season high by leaving 14 on base.

“It’s something that we’ve been struggling with lately,” Vernon Wells said. “You go through periods like that unfortunately, but hopefully we can snap out of it.”

Zambrano’s last six wins have come against teams that entered with winning records.

“I know I’ve got to keep going until the end of the season,” Zambrano said. “I’m very happy and I feel very good.”

Lugo hit a two-run single in the fifth and a three-run homer one inning later. He also drove in five runs on June 13 during a 7-1 win over Pittsburgh.

The crowd of 8,193 was the smallest home attendance in Tampa Bay history. The Devil Rays were coming off a 6-5 road trip.

“It is somewhat disappointing,” manager Lou Piniella said. “We’d like to see better crowds here the rest of the homestand. The team’s playing very respectably.”

The Devil Rays have won eight of 10 against the Blue Jays this season.

Toronto starter Cory Lidle (11-10) gave up eight runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander has lost six of his last seven decisions.

Toby Hall hit an RBI double and Lugo had a two-run single during a four-run fifth that put the Devil Rays up 4-0. Tampa Bay benefited from two Toronto errors, including a throwing error by second baseman Orlando Hudson that allowed Lugo to score the fourth run of the inning.

Marlon Anderson drove in a run with a single, and Lugo hit a three-run shot that made it 8-0 in the sixth. Carl Crawford had a two-run single in the eighth.

Zambrano worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third. He struck out Josh Phelps on a 3-2 pitch and induced a grounder from Bobby Kielty on another full-count pitch.

Toronto threatened again in the fourth, but failed to score after Eric Hinske hit a leadoff triple.

Zambrano got a grounder from Tom Wilson for the first out. After walking Hudson, he struck out Reed Johnson and Mike Bordick.

Zambrano got defensive help during a perfect fifth. Center fielder Rocco Baldelli made a leaping catch near the wall to take extra bases away from Wells to start the inning.

“They outplayed us pretty much in every aspect of the game … offense, defense, pitching, everything,” Johnson said. “We definitely lost as a team tonight.”

The Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Kielty grounded out to end the inning.

Lugo’s error at shortstop allowed Toronto to score in the ninth.

Notes

Crawford stole third base for the eighth time this season in the fifth. He has 34 steals overall. … Bordick singled in the third to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. It’s the longest active streak in the AL. … Johnson is hitting .400 (12-for-30) when leading off a game this season. The rookie started Monday’s game with a double, but was thrown out at third one batter later attempting to advance on a grounder. … Tampa Bay RF Al Martin doubled in the fifth to snap an 0-for-17 slide. … Devil Rays 1B Travis Leehas a sore foot and was shifted to DH just before the game.

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