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Shields finds form as Devil Rays end seven-game skid

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays finally put
timely hitting and good starting pitching together.

James Shields threw six solid innings to stop his six-game
losing streak and the Devil Rays ended their seven-game skid with
an 8-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

"You can't really get frustrated because you've got to keep
fighting through it," Shields said. "Every outing is a grind.
You've just got to roll with the punches."

Shields (5-6) allowed three runs -- one earned -- and four hits in
his first win since June 21. He had been winless in nine starts
after winning four straight outings.

Damon Hollins hit his career-high 14th homer for the Devil Rays,
who are 9-22 since the All-Star break. Tampa Bay had scored 14 runs
over the past seven games.

"We finally got some runs," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon
said.

Toronto, 7-3 since a season-worst seven-game losing streak, got
a solo home run from Bengie Molina.

The Blue Jays traded left-hander Scott Schoeneweis to Cincinnati
for a player to be named or cash before the game, and were in
discussions about possibly trading 2002 AL Rookie of the Year Eric
Hinske.

Hinske, who has become a part-time player this season, was in
the original starting lineup, but was scratched right before the
first pitch.

"There may be something in the works ... that's all I know,"
Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Hinske wasn't told why he was pulled, but was informed he
wouldn't play at all Wednesday night. Boston was thought to be one
team interested in Hinske.

"That's usually a sign something is probably going to happen,"
Hinske said. "I'm just kind of waiting around to see what's up and
see what happens. That's all I can do."

Hinske has made 53 starts this season and is hitting .264 with
12 homers and 29 RBI in 78 games overall.

"I've been traded twice before," Hinske said. "It's a
business. I understand it. I'm fine. Every time you get traded, it
means somebody really wants you. It's not a negative thing."

Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu had consecutive RBI doubles before
Hollins hit a two-run homer off Ted Lilly (10-11) to put the Devil
Rays ahead 4-0 in the first.

"I think that kind of set the tone," Hollins said. "A
four-run first for guy like (Shields) was a capper for the night.
He came in, took advantage of it."

Gomes (8-for-87), Cantu (11-for-63) and Hollins (1-for-21) all
began the game mired in slumps. Gomes is 3-for-5 with a homer and
four RBI against Lilly in his career.

Shields retired his first 10 batters before Frank Catalanotto
lined a single to center with one out in the fourth. Catalanotto
had a two-run double during a three-run fifth that got the Blue
Jays to 4-3.

After three consecutive bloop singles loaded the bases,
including two off Lilly, Rocco Baldelli gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead
on an RBI infield single off reliever Jason Frasor. Brian Tallet
replaced Frasor and gave up Carl Crawford's run-scoring single, and
sacrifice flies by Gomes and Cantu to make it 8-3.

Lilly allowed six runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. He
went 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four previous starts at Tropicana
Field.

"I expect to pitch a little better ballgame than that, even if
I'm not at my best," Lilly said. "I expect myself to give us a
little bit better chance to win."

Game notes
The Devil Rays became the last AL team to surpass 1 million
in home attendance with an announced crowd of 8,195. The only major
league team yet to reach 1 million this season is Florida. ...
Toronto LHP Gustavo Chacin (sore left elbow) will make one more
minor league start Saturday -- possibly with Triple-A Syracuse --
before rejoining the rotation. ... Lilly hit two batters with
pitches in the first three innings. He had plunked one in 132 1/3
innings this season entering the game. ... Crawford stole three
bases and has 39 steals this season.