TORONTO (AP)—Ted Lilly has turned his season around.
Lilly pitched seven scoreless innings, and Vernon Wells homered in Toronto’s five-run eighth inning to help the Blue Jays beat Oakland 8-0 on Wednesday night.
Lilly (7-8) is 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his last five starts after getting off to a terrible start this season. The 28-year-old left-hander allowed six hits, while striking out five and walking two. He lowered his ERA to 5.42.
“It’s better now. I’m giving us a chance, I’m staying out there for a while and keeping the score reasonable,” Lilly said. “I’m going to have to do that, to stay out there and be a little more competitive than I have been.”
Lilly said he went through the worst struggles of his career in the first few months.
“I feel like I haven’t contributed a lot to this point. In the second half I’d really like to flip that over and help us compete for the division,” he said.
Toronto manager John Gibbons thinks Lilly has more confidence because he has more velocity on his fastball. Lilly didn’t pitch in any spring training games because of shoulder tendinitis, and Gibbons thinks that’s the reason he had less velocity in the first few months.
“His fastball is back,” said. “It’s better than it was earlier.”
Lilly entered the game 1-3 with a 7.78 ERA in four career starts against his former team.
“It’s fun going out there and competing against them, especially because they’ve gotten me pretty good in the past. It’s fun to have my turn,” Lilly said.
Lilly escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh when second baseman Mark Ellis grounded into his second inning-ending double play of the game.
“We didn’t get anything going. A couple of double plays killed innings for us,” Oakland first baseman Dan Johnson said.
The A’s lost for just the second time in their last 12 games. They dropped to 41-42 a day after reaching .500 for the first time since May 2.
Oakland starter Joe Blanton (5-7) lost for the first time in five starts, allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings. He won his previous four starts.
Blanton is 0-6 on the road and 5-1 at home.
“I didn’t feel that bad. I just got the ball up,” Blanton said.
Toronto 2B Orlando Hudson missed the game because of tightness in his right hamstring. Hudson was injured Tuesday running the bases after homering in the seventh inning. He grabbed his leg after rounding first and hobbled home before leaving the game. Menechino and John McDonald will share duties at second until Hudson returns. … Lilly is 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA in his last five home starts.