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.”
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.”
“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.