Wells batted .529 (9-for-17) with three homers and five RBIs to help the Blue Jays win three of four from the New York Yankees. The center fielder hit two of Toronto’s five homers and had four RBIs in a 13-5 rout on Sunday.
“We could have easily taken all four,” Wells said. “But you’ve got to be happy with three.”
Toronto (55-43) starts play in third place in the AL East, two game behind the Yankees and 4 1/2 in back of Boston. The Jays also are 4 1/2 behind of the Chicago White Sox for the wild card.
New York opens a three-game road series against Texas on Monday, while Boston visits Oakland for a three-game set between division leaders.
Wells may be having his best season with a .322 batting average and 26 homers, seven short of his career best set in 2003. The two-time All-Star is also looking to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and he has a good opportunity to do it at Safeco Field, where he’s hitting .345 (19-for-55) with five homers and 13 RBIs in 15 games there.
He’s hitting .405 with five homers and 12 RBIs during his hitting streak, which is two short of his season-high that opened the season from April 4-16. His career-best hitting streak is 20 games from June 6-28, 2003.
Casey Janssen (6-9, 4.77 ERA) hopes he can avoid his career-worst fourth straight loss for Toronto. The rookie right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.07 ERA in his last three starts including one July 14 against the Mariners (47-51) in which he allowed three runs and five hits over four innings of a 5-3 defeat.
Janssen’s woes continued Wednesday against Texas when he was tagged for five runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 5-4 loss.
“We just have to stick together as a team,” Janssen said.
Seattle hopes erratic Joel Pineiro (6-8, 5.79) will help them win three in a row for the first time since a five-game winning streak from June 24-29. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 7.54 ERA in his last five appearances—including four starts—since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 20.
He also is 0-2 with a 10.91 ERA in his last three home starts, while allowing opponents to hit .400 in that span.
Pineiro pitched well against the Yankees on Tuesday, giving up two runs and seven hits in six innings, but did not get a decision in 5-4, 11-inning loss. He retired seven straight hitters between the fourth and sixth innings, with each out coming on either a ground ball or strikeout.
“I started getting ahead of the hitters and I was able to get my sinker and slider down in the strike zone,” Pineiro said. “Early on I was throwing a lot of (fastballs) and everything was up.”
He is 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA, allowing eight homers in seven career starts against the Jays, and has not defeated them since May 16, 2002.
“Hey, I’ve had some good games now,” Sexson said. “But against a great team, and with us still in the race, yeah, it’s big.”
The first baseman has three homers in his last five games. He also has four homers and 15 RBIs in his last 10 games against the Blue Jays.