Batista tosses complete-game shutout

American League Cy Young winner Roy Halladay’s stint on the disabled list is going largely unnoticed, thanks to some stellar pitching performances by two other Toronto Blue Jay starters.
Miguel Batista tossed a four-hit shutout as the Blue Jays downed the L.A. Dodgers 4-0 yesterday. It was the Blue Jays’ (27-32) second-straight inter-league win over the Dodgers (30-26) and they’ll go for a sweep today.
“Tonight, he [Batista] was dominating,” said manager Carlos Tosca. “When you’re throwing 97 [miles per hour] and you’re able to get it where you want to, it makes you pretty tough on the opposition.”
The Dodgers had little chance against Batista, hitting just seven balls out of the infield. And they squandered the one quality scoring opportunity they had when Juan Encarnacion led off the third with a double.
Batista (4-4) struck out Jason Grabowski, induced Alex Cora to ground out, and got a fine play from third baseman Eric Hinske, who stabbed Dave Roberts’ grounder and threw him out, to escape unscathed.
“I think that took the wind out of their sails,” said Jays catcher Gregg Zaun. “With the stuff he was throwing out there tonight, it was going to be pretty difficult to string together a group of hits.”
The win came one night after Jays lefty Ted Lilly held the punchless Dodgers to a lone run in seven innings of work.
The Jays are 5-4 since Halladay missed a start with shoulder soreness and was placed on the 15-day DL. Batista and Lilly have three of those victories.
Batista struck out eight Dodgers and now has allowed just three runs over his last 25 innings. During that impressive run, he finally has begun to resemble the pitcher the Jays envisioned when he signed him in the off-season.
“At the beginning I was having problems with my arm angle,” said Batista. “After I started to get my arm angle consistent to throw the ball seven times out of 10 in the spot that I wanted, then I knew OK, now I have to stick to my game plan.”
The Blue Jays (27-32) scored three times in the decisive fourth inning, putting an end to Jose Lima’s streak without allowing an earned run at 23 2/3 innings to the delight of 18,003 at SkyDome.
Lima retired the first nine batters he faced, but Reed Johnson led off the fourth with a single, went to third on Chris Gomez’s base hit, and scored on a wild pitch.
After Frank Catalanotto struck out, accidentally hurling his bat toward the mound in the process, and Vernon Wells singled, Zaun delivered a key two-run double to right.
Howie Clark, subbing for the injured Carlos Delgado at first base, added a solo shot off Lima (4-2) in the seventh to make it 4-0. Lima did a little dance step after striking out Clark in the third but paid for it in the seventh.
“That’s OK,” said Clark. “I don’t care about that stuff.”
Elsewhere in inter-league action, Minnesota beat the N.Y. Mets 5-3, Cleveland dumped Florida 8-1, Detroit doubled Atlanta 4-2, Baltimore thumped Arizona 8-2, the N.Y. Yankees topped Colorado 7-5, and San Diego upended Boston 8-1.
Tampa Bay nipped San Francisco 4-3 (10 innings), Philadelphia outslugged the Chicago White Sox 13-10, Houston blanked Seattle 3-0, Oakland crushed Cincinnati 17-8, and Milwaukee bombed Anaheim 12-2.
Montreal at Kansas City and Pittsburgh at Texas were both postponed.
In the lone NL game, St. Louis dumped the Chicago Cubs 12-4.