Blue Jays 4, Dodgers 0

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TORONTO (AP)—After a slow start, Miguel Batista is pitching the way the Toronto Blue Jays thought he would.

Batista threw a four-hitter for his third career shutout, leading the Blue Jays over the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 Wednesday night.

Signed to a $13.1 million, three-year contract in the offseason, Batista (4-4) set a season-high with eight strikeouts and walked two in his first shutout since last July 18 against San Diego. He needed just 1 hour, 57 minutes.

Batista has allowed three runs in his last three outings, lowering his ERA to 4.20, and has won four of his last six starts after going winless in his first seven.

“This is what I expected,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “He’s been around the plate lately and really gotten us deep into games. He’s doing a fantastic job for us.”

The 33-year-old right-hander has pitched at least eight innings in each of his last three starts, helping the Blue Jays overcome the loss of injured ace Roy Halladay.

Batista says he’s pitching better because he’s got his arm angle right.

“At the beginning of the season, I couldn’t get the ball over the plate,” he said. “I got my command now.”

Catcher Gregg Zaun thinks Batista has just settled in.

“He probably thought coming over as a free agent he needed to do a little more than he needed to,” Zaun said. “He probably was a little over aggressive, trying to be perfect. Now I’m sitting more in the middle of the plate and letting the ball work because he has such great movement on his ball.”

Batista, who spent three seasons in Arizona before joining Toronto, lost his five previous decisions to the Dodgers.

Los Angeles has scored just one run in its last two games. The Dodgers have lost three straight and been blanked five time this season.

“Batista was real tough,” Shawn Green said. “We’ve faced him a lot over the last four years, but that’s as good as we’ve seen him.”

Howie Clark homered, one day after hitting his first major league home run.

Los Angeles starter Jose Lima (4-2) pitched three perfect innings before Reed Johnson singled leading off the fourth. Chris Gomez singled, and Lima threw a run-scoring wild pitch.

After Vernon Wells singled with one out, Zaun hit a two-run double for a 3-0 lead. Clark homered in the seventh.

Lima didn’t allow an earned run in 23 2-3 innings before the wild pitch. He walked off the field shaking his head after the inning.

“I had one bad inning,” he said.

Lima, who has started and relieved this season, allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings.

He doesn’t know if he’ll start again next week.

“If they want me to be the bat boy, I’ll be the bat boy,” he said.


Toronto’s Frank Catalanotto accidentally threw his bat at Lima while striking out in the fourth. Lima got out of the way. … Zaun, Toronto’s catcher, began walking off the field after Batista struck out Adrian Beltre for the second out of the fifth. Zaun thought it was the third out. … Los AngelesLF Dave Roberts robbed Zaun of extra bases with a diving catch in the sixth.

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