“I have a guy behind me they don’t want to pitch to,” Wells says, “so I guess I get some good pitches to hit.”
Wells will look to stretch his latest hitting streak to 12 games when the Toronto Blue Jays begin a three-game interleague series against the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium. The opener marks the first of six games between the Canadian rivals over the next 10 days.
Wells homered twice and drove in three runs Thursday, leading the Blue Jays to a 6-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles and a sweep of their rain-shortened series.
After driving in a career-high 100 runs last season, Wells now has 65 RBIs this season, second in the majors behind Delgado, who has 76. Wells is batting .367 (18-for-49) with four homers and 10 RBIs during his current hitting streak. Wells had a 12-game streak from May 13-24, one shy of the career-high run he had last season.
Toronto has won eight of nine to move 10 games above .500 for the first time since Sept. 23, 2000.
“It’s been this way for a while, now we just got to try to continue to keep it going,” Wells said. “We’re clicking on all cylinders, and if we can do that we have a chance to win every game. We just have to stick to our guns and continue to work.”
The travel-weary Expos return to Montreal following a demanding 3 1/2 -week road swing. They snapped a season-high six-game losing streak with Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The victory was only the eighth for Montreal during the 22-game odyssey that covered 11,310 miles, 25 days and ranged from Seattle to San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Expos’ part-time home.
“Nothing has been like this,” said Expos manager Frank Robinson, who has been in the majors as a player, manager or executive since the 1950s. “There’s been nothing with this much travel.”
The Blue Jays lead the all-time series 18-13.
STANDINGS: Blue Jays - 3rd place, 1 1/2 GB, AL East. Expos - 2nd place, 7 GB, NL East.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Cory Lidle (9-4, 5.07 ERA). After winning seven straight decisions, Lidle is 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA over his last four starts. The veteran right-hander didn’t figure in the outcome of Toronto’s 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, allowing four runs and six hits over seven innings. Lidle is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career appearances against Montreal.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Javier Vazquez (6-4, 3.82 ERA). Vazquez is 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA over his last three starts. The 26-year-old right-hander surrendered five runs and five hits, including two homers, over 6 1-3 innings in Saturday’s 9-1 loss to Oakland. Vazquez is 0-1 with a 6.27 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Blue Jays - Delgado, .315 avg., 22 HRs, 76 RBIs and 62 runs; Orlando Hudson, 4 SBs. Expos - Jose Vidro, .331 avg.; Orlando Cabrera, 10 HRs, 38 RBIs and 47 runs; Endy Chavez, 13 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Blue Jays - 8-5; Expos - 6-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Blue Jays - 1B Delgado is the all-time leader in interleague play with 36 homers and 105 RBIs. … Toronto has scored at least five runs in 16 of its last 17 games. … The Blue Jays have outhomered their opponents 40-25 on the road. Expos - Montreal, which is 17-21 on the road, is 13-5 in Montreal and 10-6 in San Juan. … The Expos have just three multi-run innings over their last eight games. … Montreal recalled RHP Sun-Woo Kim from Triple-A Edmonton and optioned LHP Anthony Ferrari to the Trappers. Kim will start Saturday’s contest.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jays - 22-16 on the road; Expos - 23-11 at home.
INJURIES: Blue Jays - INF Eric Hinske (hand), 15-day DL; OF Shannon Stewart (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Pete Walker (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL. Expos - OF Vladimir Guerrero (back), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Zach Day (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL.