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Updated: Saturday, June 26, 2004 8:26 PM EDT
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TORONTO 10, MONTREAL 5
 

TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Montreal Expos ' quest for a victory from a lefthanded starter continues.

Reed Johnson collected three hits, scored two runs and drove in one and Miguel Batista tossed seven solid innings as the Toronto Blue Jays posted their third win in four games with a 10-5 triumph over the Expos.

Brought up from Class AAA Edmonton on Friday, Montreal starter Scott Downs became the first lefthander to start for the Expos since his only appearance of the season last August. He suffered the same fate in this one, allowing seven runs - three earned - and six hits in just 2 2/3 innings.

"I thought I kept the ball down," Downs said. "I wasn't throwing consistent strikes and I think I got the groundballs I wanted to get, but a lot of them found holes. I did my job in some ways but failed in others."

Downs (0-1), who walked three and struck out one, hoped to snap Montreal's three-year drought by lefthanded starters. Matt Blank was the last Expos southpaw to start and win a game, accomplishing the feat on June 21, 2001.

"Downsey came out and didn't pitch badly, he just got some bad breaks, balls we should have made plays on," Expos left fielder Brad Wilkerson said. "They swung the bats well today and Batista pitched pretty good."

Johnson did not contribute to Downs' demise but got to Montreal's bullpen. After belting a solo homer off Claudio Vargas in the fourth, Johnson hit a two-out single in the eighth against T.J. Tucker, stole second and came home on Eric Hinske 's single to cap the scoring.

A former Expo, Batista (6-5) notched his fourth win in five decisions, allowing three runs and eight hits while walking two and striking out three. The righthander saw his homerless innings streak reach 52 before Jose Vidro 's solo shot with one out in the fifth.

"I thought it was a gutsy performance on (Batista's) part," Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. "He wasn't carrying his best stuff, he had a little problem with his control, too, and on top of that, he had to battle a blister on his middle finger."

Batista fell into an early hole, beginning with a leadoff single by Wilkerson and a walk to Endy Chavez in the first inning. After Vidro grounded into a double play, Nick Johnson singled to plate Wilkerson and give the Expos a 1-0 lead.

But Batista settled down and limited Montreal to two runs over the next six innings.

"I had a blister when I started warming up and it bothered me the first two innings," Batista said. "But after that, my finger got numb and the burning went away, so I got my command and started throwing the ball over the plate more often."

The Blue Jays jumped ahead with three runs in the second inning as Orlando Hudson and Frank Menechino had RBI singles and Alexis Rios scored on a throwing error by Montreal shortstop Orlando Cabrera .

"That's huge that we got off to a good start," Johnson said. "(Downs) was working with his fastball in pretty well and I think we made the adjustment to make him get the ball out over the plate. We had pretty good success offensively and Batista was great for us, too."

Menechino also homered and Josh Phelps added a pair of RBI for the Blue Jays , who clinched a home series win against Montreal for the sixth time in eight tries.

Vidro extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the third.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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