Lugo homered and tied a career high with five RBI and Zambrano won his third straight start as the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
opened a 10-game homestand with a 10-1 rout of the
Toronto Blue Jays
A 27-year-old shortstop, Lugo highlighted a four-run fifth inning with a two-run single and capped another four-run frame in the sixth with a three-run homer off Toronto starter
(11-10) that gave Tampa Bay an 8-0 lead.
"I got a couple of hits at the right time," Lugo said. "That's how we've been playing lately, not just me, all of us. We were getting a lot of hits (earlier in the season), we just couldn't put them together. We left a lot of men on third base with less than two outs. That's been the key for us, getting those guys home."
Released by the
in May, Lugo is batting .393 (22-for-56) in his last 16 games to lift his average from .235 to a season-high .272. He also drove in five runs on June 13 against the
Zambrano (9-5) allowed seven hits in seven scoreless innings to improve to 7-1 in his last 10 starts. He walked four and struck out six.
"I'm very excited to get the opportunity," Zambrano said after setting his career high for wins in a season. "I feel very confident and I know I need to keep going to finish the season. I am very happy and I feel very good."
The righthander, who turns 28 on Wednesday, held Toronto to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but threw a career-high 126 pitches.
"Zambrano has been on a good roll," Tampa Bay manager
said. "He's pitched awfully well in the past 12 starts. He made some pitches when he had to; Toronto is a good hitting ballclub. The last two starts we've let (Jeremi) Gonzalez and Zambrano throw more pitches than they've thrown all year."
Zambrano got out of several early jams to keep Toronto scoreless. The
had the bases loaded in the third with one out, but Zambrano struck out
on a groundout.
"Victor had a tough time but give him credit, he battled back and made good pitches at the right time," Lugo said. "He got ground balls when he needed them and strikeouts when he needed them."
Zambrano got some help in the fifth when
made a running, leaping catch on
' deep drive to center field that would have gone for extra bases to start the inning.
"It's a really great play," Zambrano said. "With no score, that play he makes, makes me finish the inning."
Baldelli made up for letting Hinske's triple get away from him the previous inning.
"I wasn't really worried about the wall on either of them," he said. "(In the fourth) I just, I don't want to say I misplayed it, the ball just didn't go in the glove. (In the fifth inning), the ball went in the glove."
added two RBI as the
won for the fifth time in their last six games. Tampa Bay is returning home after a 6-5 road trip, during which it swept a three-game series in Toronto. But the
were greeted in their return by the smallest home attendance in Tampa Bay history.
"That's a good way to start a homestand," Piniella said. "(The low attendance) was somewhat disappointing - 8,193, that's a small crowd. We'd like to see better crowds here the rest of the homestand. The team's playing very respectably."
After losing to the
and Zambrano last week, Lidle gave up eight runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He declined to comment after the game.
Bordick extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the third, but Toronto lost for the fifth time in the last seven contests after going just 1-of-14 overall with runners in scoring position and tying a season high by leaving 14 on base.
"This might be one of the worst games we've played,"
manager Carlos Tosca said. "We had plenty of scoring opportunities early on but we just couldn't get the big hit when we needed one."
"They outplayed us pretty much in every aspect of the game ... offense, defense, pitching, everything," Johnson added. "We definitely lost as a team tonight."
opened the scoring in the fifth with an RBI double and Lugo drove in two with a single later in the inning. He scored on an error by Hudson at second base.
had a run-scoring single and Lugo belted his fifth home run of the season to give Tampa Bay an 8-0 lead in the sixth.
Crawford added a two-run single in the eighth before the
broke through in the ninth as Bordick - who walked - scored on Lugo's error.