CINCINNATI -- Rarely have the Cincinnati Reds had it so easy.
Luke Hudson won his season debut with six solid innings on a steamy night, and the suddenly revived Reds completed a three-game sweep of baseball's worst road team, routing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 14-5 on Thursday.
"We've got some confidence going," first baseman Sean Casey said.
The Reds rallied from five-run deficits in each of the first two games of the series, the first time they'd done so since 1918. No rally was needed after the AL's worst pitching staff bungled another one away.
Casey Fossum (2-4) walked a season-high six in only four innings, needing 102 pitches to get that far. By the time he left trailing 5-1, the tone was set.
Tampa Bay pitchers walked eight in all, increasing their total to 252, most in the major leagues. Cincinnati hit two more homers -- 11 overall in the series -- while reaching a season high in runs.
They had a lot of help.
"Uh, look," manager Lou Piniella said, summing up his last-place team's plight. "When you're last in the league in pitching and last in the league in errors, that's not a good combination to win baseball games. We're last in the league in walks. There's a direct correlation between those things."
Hudson (1-0), sidelined since spring training by a sore shoulder, was activated before the game and gave up three hits, including two-run homers by Carl Crawford and Jorge Cantu. Hudson also drew a walk with the bases loaded, reached on an error and scored twice.
The right-hander was a contender for the rotation heading into spring training, but made only one start before the shoulder gave him problems. The three-month setback made the victory especially satisfying.
"It was rewarding," Hudson said. "I was in purgatory. I don't want to go through that again."
The Devil Rays often have that same feeling when they're on the road, whether in an AL park or one from the other league. They're 1-8 on a 12-game trip that concludes with three games in Pittsburgh.
Tampa Bay has lost 11 of its last 12 road games overall for a 4-26 mark that is the worst in either league.
Fossum, forced from his start last Friday in Seattle because of a tight groin, languished on a humid, 89-degree evening. He walked the first two batters, the last thing Piniella wanted to see from his struggling staff.
"I wasn't hesitant about throwing the ball," said Fossum, who had his leg wrapped for protection. "I had a tough time just getting a grip on the ball because of the humidity."
The left-hander needed 68 pitches to get through the first two innings alone. Joe Randa's two-run single helped the Reds pull ahead 5-1.
Cincinnati wrapped it up by sending 11 batters to the plate in the fifth against Jesus Colome. Casey singled home two runs, and Ken Griffey Jr. extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single.
Jason LaRue hit a two-run homer off Colome in the sixth, and Jacob Cruz followed with his second pinch-hit homer in two nights for a 14-5 lead. Colome then left the game with a stiff pitching shoulder.
Tampa Bay has given up 74 homers, most in the AL.
The Devil Rays' defense was a huge problem, too. They made three errors that set up five unearned runs, and now lead the majors with 53 errors in all.
The Reds racked up 34 runs during the sweep, which provided a momentary reprieve. The club's chief executive flew to Colorado for the final game of a trip on Sunday, warning that major changes would be made if the team didn't start winning.
By sweeping the series, the Reds matched their longest winning streak of the season -- three games -- and changed their outlook from four days ago.
"It was baseball hell in Colorado," Griffey said. "For some strange reason, we weren't getting it done. Eventually, it's got to change. The big thing is we've got to stay positive."
Only 16,381 tickets were sold for the game, the Reds' fifth-smallest home gate this season. ... The Reds are 6-0 in two series against Tampa Bay. They also swept a series in Florida in 2003. ... Tampa Bay 1B Travis Lee had the game's best defensive play. He made a diving catch of Griffey's liner in the fourth, then rolled the ball to second base to double up Randa. ... 3B Nick Green was a late scratch from the Devil Rays' lineup because of a sore left shoulder. ... Reds SS Felipe Lopez had the day off to rest. ... Cincinnati's upcoming series against Baltimore could mark the first time that three 500-homer players have appeared in the same game -- Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Griffey.