Blue Jays 11, Devil Rays 6

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TORONTO (AP)—It would be an understatement to say Hideo Nomo has been a lot more effective pitching at home this season. On the road he’s been awful.

Shea Hillenbrand homered to highlight a six-run third inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays ended a four-game losing skid with an 11-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night.

Nomo (5-8) lasted just 2 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and three walks. He’s 1-7 with a 10.32 ERA on the road, but 4-1 with a 3.91 ERA at home.

“It’s been a story of two different pitchers,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “I really don’t know why. I wish I did know. I asked my pitching coach and he doesn’t have the answers, but yeah, he’s had a much, much better success pitching at the Tropicana dome than on the road.”

Nomo said his approach is the same whether he’s pitching at home or on the road.

“There’s no difference between home and away,” Nomo said through an interpreter.

Piniella said someone will be removed from the rotation if Doug Waechter is ready to return from tendinitis in his right index finger. Waechter will make one rehab start before Piniella decides who he’ll replace.

Jonny Gomes and Damon Hollins homered for the Devil Rays, who have lost 12 of 14 to fall to a major league-worst 29-62.

Tampa Bay pitchers walked six batters a day after walking none in a 3-0 shutout.

“Yesterday we didn’t walk anybody, today we walked a slew of them. I’d venture to say that most of them scored,” Piniella said. Three of them did.

Orlando Hudson had three RBIs for the Blue Jays, who won for the first time since ace Roy Halladay broke a bone in his lower left leg. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.

Hillenbrand said they’re not putting pressure on themselves to pick up the slack.

“You can’t. I’ve been through this a lot of times before where guys try to do extra,” Hillenbrand said. “You can’t put too much pressure on yourself.”

Toronto starter Gustavo Chacin (8-5) won consecutive starts for the first time since April 11-16 despite allowing five runs on nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. The 24-year-old left-hander struck out three and walked none, the first time he hasn’t walked anybody this season.

The Blue Jays sent 12 batters to the plate in the third. Hillenbrand hit his two-run homer. Nomo struck out Aaron Hill for the second out of the inning, but he walked Gregg Zaun and Alex Rios before Eric Hinske loaded the bases with an infield single.

Hudson followed with an RBI infield single to third baseman Jorge Cantu, whose errant throw to first allowed Rios to score Toronto’s fifth run. Frank Catalanotto later added a two-run single off Dewon Brazelton.

“It was huge to have that big of a cushion,” Hillenbrand said.

Gomes cut it to 7-3 with his three-run homer in the third. He missed the take sign on the pitch.

“We’ve instigated fines when you miss signs. I told him we’ll let it go this time,” Piniella said to laughter.

The Blue Jays scored three runs in the bottom half on Hinske’s sacrifice fly and Hudson’s two-run double.

Hollins hit a two-run homer off Chacin in the sixth, and Gomes hit an RBI triple off Jason Frasor in the seventh to cut it to 10-6.

Toronto’s Vernon Wells hit his team-leading 18th homer of the season, a solo shot off Lance Carter in the bottom half.


Toronto 3B Corey Koskie will likely go on a rehab assignment on Monday instead of this weekend. Koskie has been on the DL since May 19 with a broken right thumb and ligament damage. “We just want to make sure he’s good and ready,” manager John Gibbons said. … Toronto rookie Hill extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the second. … Chacin is 3-0 in three career starts against Tampa Bay. … Piniella said he’s going to drop LF Carl Crawford from the leadoff spot to second in the order against right-handers.

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