Wells had gone winless in four starts before pitching 7 2-3 scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over Atlanta on Friday. The right-hander scattered six hits, struck out a season-high seven and walked two in his first victory since May 8.
More importantly, Wells rebounded nicely from his worst outing of the year, an 11-2 loss at Cincinnati on May 29 in which he surrendered nine runs—four earned—in just 2 2-3 innings.
“I wasn’t out there trying to throw a shutout. I was just trying to stay smooth in my delivery and not get excited,” Wells said Friday. “I have a regular problem of getting excited and then working too fast. I just tried to stay smooth, and all my pitches worked better for me because of it.”
Wells has yielded one earned run or fewer in three of his last four outings, and his 3.53 ERA is second on the Pittsburgh staff behind left-hander Mark Redman (2.82).
“With the exception of the game in Cincinnati, his last five or six starts, he’s been very, very good,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said of Wells. “He didn’t have dominant stuff (Friday) but he pounded the zone. He really made some quality pitches when he needed to.”
The Pirates suffered a 4-3 loss in Monday’s series opener—the first meeting between the teams since the 1979 World Series—and were trailing 5-2 in the eighth before rallying for a 6-5 win Tuesday.
Jack Wilson’s go-ahead solo homer followed Daryle Ward’s tying three-run shot in the eighth inning as Pittsburgh improved to 6-3 on its 13-game homestand. Pittsburgh, which owns the worst home record in the majors, will try to hand Baltimore its first road series defeat of the season.