Jays put away Red Sox for sweep
Well goes 4-for-5 with four runs, three RBIs; Halladay wins third
BOSTON -- Vernon Wells couldn't care less about his personal statistics. At the rate his Blue Jays teammates keep landing on the disabled list, the center fielder just wants to do his part to keep Toronto from falling too far behind in the American League East.
On Tuesday night, Wells did more than his share in an effort to keep Toronto's offense intact despite another injury to one of its regulars. Wells matched a career high with four hits and ace Roy Halladay turned in another stellar peformance, helping the Blue Jays overcome the loss of catcher Gregg Zaun in a 10-3 win over the Red Sox.
"I dont care," said Wells, when asked about emerging from his early-season slump. "You just want to try to do whatever you can do to help this team win -- whatever you can do to help this team get going."
Wells didn't wait long to do just that in the finale of a two-game set against Boston at Fenway Park. In the first inning, the center fielder sent a 2-2 offering from Red Sox starter Julian Tavarez (0-2) deep to left field for a solo homer -- his fourth of the season.
When the night was through, Wells had added three more base hits, including a two-run single in the sixth inning that put Toronto (10-10) ahead, 9-3. Wells also matched a personal best with four runs scored -- a feat he's accomplished twice before in his nine years in the Majors.
In the two games against Boston (12-7), Wells accounted for seven of Toronto's 17 runs. As recent as Wednesday, Wells was hitting just .228 for April. Since then, he's gone 10-for-22 -- 6-for-9 in the pair of wins over the Red Sox -- to up his season average to .291.
Wells hasn't been the only Blue Jays slugger breaking out of an April funk. Toronto designated hitter Frank Thomas, who entered the game with a .232 average, notched two hits for the third game in a row, including a two-run double off Tavarez. Wells and Thomas, Toronto's No. 3 and 4 hitters, combined to go 10-for-17 in the series.
"It's something that we're going to have to do," Wells said. "The guys in the middle of the lineup are going to have to step up and do their part. We've got production from the [bottom of the order], and we haven't been doing our job in the middle of the lineup. If we're able to do that and join those guys, we're going to have some fun."
"It's not like [Wells is] never going to hit. He's always done it," Jays manager John Gibbons said. "What was hurting us there for a while was everybody was cold there at once. It was just a matter of time for those guys."
Halladay (3-0) appreciated the wealth of run support. The right-hander admitted that the cushion made him feel more comfortable on the mound, especially against a potent lineup such as Boston's.
The Red Sox scored three times against Halladay in the first four innings, but were held hitless for the remainder of the contest. After Halladay yielded a solo homer to third baseman Mike Lowell in the fourth, the starter retired the final 14 batters he faced in order.
Halladay finished with no walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts -- his most in a game since tallying 10 Ks on May 29, 2005. The former American League Cy Young Award winner said his curveball was particularly sharp, which helped him tame Boston's lineup.
"You don't get many of those chances here against this team," Halladay said. "You really have to do the best you can to make [the lead] stand up. That was the big focus after that third or fourth inning.
"It becomes so important to be more aggressive and to really challenge guys -- not giving them a chance. [A comeback is] never out of the question, so you really have to buckle down and try to go through them as quick as possible."
Halladay's outing was also impressive in that he had to adjust to a new catcher during the game. Zaun started for the Jays, but he left in the second inning after being struck on the right hand by a foul ball from former Blue Jay Eric Hinske.
Toronto's backup catcher, Jason Phillips, took over for Zaun, who is expected to be placed on the disabled list after he has his hand examined by a specialist on Wednesday. Phillips chipped in two of Toronto's 15 hits, and Halladay gave credit to the catcher for his work behind the plate.
"Phillips did a great job calling the game today," Halladay said. "It's one of those little things that's important when you lose [Zaun] like that. ... You do the best to make up for whatever losses that you have."
In that, Wells and Halladay are on the same page.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.