Third career blanking for Batista

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

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

"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

"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

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

"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

Game notes
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 Angeles LF Dave Roberts
robbed Zaun of extra bases with a diving catch in the sixth.