Toronto (67-65) at Oakland (65-69)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 3:35 pm EDT Wed Aug 29, 2007
  • TV: RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Good things usually happen for the Toronto Blue Jays with Vernon Wells at the top of the order.

Wells and the Blue Jays look to complete their first three-game road sweep of the Oakland Athletics in 14 years on Wednesday afternoon.

Looking for a way to jump-start his inconsistent offense, Toronto manager John Gibbons moved Wells back to the leadoff spot Tuesday night. Although Wells was only 1-for-5 with a run scored, the Blue Jays scored three times in the eighth inning and held on for a 5-4 victory.

Toronto (67-65) improved to 11-6 with Wells at the top of the order, a spot he hadn’t occupied since July 14.

In 17 games this season batting first, Wells is hitting .297 (22-for-74) with seven homers and 16 RBIs. Batting second through fifth, he is hitting .251 (110-for-438) with eight home runs and 58 RBIs.

“I don’t think anybody figured we’d be seeing (Wells) hitting leadoff,” Gibbons told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “We tried it a while back and it worked really well. I think we played really well as a team. He can make a lot of things happen.”

Lyle Overbay delivered a tiebreaking two-run double, and Matt Stairs homered to help the Blue Jays to their fourth win in six games.

The double was particularly sweet for Overbay, who had grounded into inning-ending double plays in his previous two at-bats. It was the first multi-RBI effort in 16 games for Overbay, who suffered a broken right hand June 3 after getting hit by a pitch.

“It hurts, but it hurts after my swing so it’s not one of those things that I’m changing my swing,” Overbay said. “I just don’t have a feel of it. I hate blaming it on that because I feel like I can still put good swings on the bat. It’s just I’m not getting that line-drive lift, which is frustrating for me.”

Closer Jeremy Accardo was called on to protect a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but gave up two runs before Casey Janssen got Shannon Stewart to ground to first with two runners on.

“It’s good to see how we came back against a closer again,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “We’ve done that numerous times this year. We almost did it again. It shows the fight in the guys.”

Toronto, 4-1 this season at Oakland, hasn’t swept a three-game series there since Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 1993.

Jack Cust drove in two runs as the Athletics (65-69) lost their fifth in a row, their longest skid since dropping a season-high nine straight from July 6-17.

Roy Halladay (14-6, 3.86 ERA) seeks his first road win in more than two months for Toronto. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 3.71 ERA in five road starts since winning at Minnesota on June 25.

Halladay pitched his major league-leading sixth complete game Friday in a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, allowing 12 hits with five strikeouts and no walks.

The Blue Jays ace is 4-4 with a 5.55 ERA in 10 career starts against the Athletics, but is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in his last three appearances.

Lenny DiNardo (8-7, 3.57) looks to rebound from his shortest start of the season. The left-hander lasted only two-plus innings Friday in a 12-2 loss at Tampa Bay, allowing six runs and eight hits. That performance came after DiNardo went 5-0 with a 3.67 ERA in his previous seven starts.

He has been particularly good at home lately, going 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts. He hasn’t lost at Oakland since Toronto reached him for six runs - four earned - and eight hits in 2 1-3 innings of an 11-7 victory on July 2.

DiNardo is 0-2 with an 18.56 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Halladay Tor vs. L. DiNardo Oak
16-7 Record 8-10
3.71 ERA 4.11
139 K 59
48 BB 50
1.24 WHIP 1.42


Wednesday, Aug 29