for this game

Wells comes through in a pinch for Blue Jays

Jun 2, 2007 - 9:16 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Although Vernon Wells is not very familiar with pinch-hitting, he appears to be good at it.

The slumping Wells lined a two-run pinch single to key a three-run seventh inning Saturday as the Toronto Blue Jays went on to a 9-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox, who lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Alex Rios had a single in the go-ahead rally and belted a three-run homer in the eighth for the Blue Jays, who were shut out Friday night but have not lost two in a row since dropping a season-high nine straight games from May 1-10.

"We needed that one," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "Our offense was struggling the past few days so it was nice to see the bats come alive."

Wells had been slumping, batting just .139 (5-for-36) in his last nine games. With a day game after a night game, the All-Star slugger was held out of the starting lineup by Gibbons, who gave a start to Matt Stairs in right field and moved Rios to center.

The Blue Jays had trouble solving White Sox starter Jose Contreras, who took a 3-1 lead into the seventh. But pudgy Sal Fasano bunted for a hit and one out later, Rios singled to chase Contreras.

Mike MacDougal (1-3) came on and got Lyle Overbay to ground out before Frank Thomas walked to load the bases. Matt Thornton came on to face Wells, who batted for Stairs and lifted a broken-bat liner into center field, plating the tying runs.

"Thornton throws hard and I was luckily just able to get a ball through the infield," Wells said. "From that point on it was just a matter of guys just relaxing and taking good swings."

"I thought I made a pretty good pitch," Thornton said. "I got ahead in the count, went inside hard and missed, and then came back in. Wells is a pretty strong guy and he got enough of it to bloop it over the infield."

Aaron Hill followed with a double down the left field line to give Toronto the lead for good.

"It was nice to come up and get a big run," said Hill, who grounded into double plays in his previous two at-bats. "The big thing was getting the key hits with two outs, that really sparked us. Hitting has always been off of momentum and it definitely was on our side late in the game."

In a career that began in 1999, Wells had just two previous at-bats as a pinch hitter, collecting a hit and two RBI. It was his first multi-RBI game since May 19.

"I don't mind pinch-hitting," Wells said. "I think I did it against Baltimore earlier this year against another lefthander. I just try to take the same approach as a starter - just go up there and try to get a pitch to hit."

Wells stayed in the game and added a hit in a five-run eighth, showing signs of coming out of his slump.

The rally made a winner of Dustin McGowan (2-2), who has performed well since being pressed into rotation duty by a series of injuries to Blue Jays starters.

McGowan gave up three runs, six hits and three walks in seven innings, striking out five. In his last start, the righthander allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings of a win over the New York Yankees.

"If you give our offense a chance, they're going to come through," McGowan said. "You can't show any weaknesses on the mound. You've got to stay confident the whole time and that's what I'm trying to do. If you can throw strikes, good things are going to happen."

Casey Janssen finished up with two perfect innings for his second save. Rios made it easy for the bullpen with his 13th homer, a three-run shot off Dave Aardsma, and Hill added a two-run single later in the frame.

What also made things easy was Chicago's continued problems at the plate against relievers. The White Sox are hitless in their last 47 at-bats vs. opposing bullpens.

"It's not easy when you make a move and day in and day out you make the wrong ones," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Right now, we're not hitting and we're not pitching. We don't have the luxury to lose a game like that. Obviously, I'm the one to take the blame, but my hands are tied."

Contreras gave up three runs - two earned - and nine hits over 6 1/3 innings, walking two and fanning two. The righthander has not won consecutive starts all season.

McGowan got off to a shaky start. Jerry Owens led off with a double, moved up on a groundout and scored on Jim Thome's sacrifice fly.

The White Sox scored again in the second but could have had more. With two out, Joe Crede doubled and scored on a single by Juan Uribe, who sped to third on a hit by Toby hall. But McGowan struck out Jerry Owens.

Uribe's error at shortstop in the bottom half preceded an RBI single by Fasano that tied it. But Contreras got a pair of outs to strand two runners.

The White Sox came right back in the third. Tadahito Iguchi singled, took second on a wild pitch, third on a groundout and scored on Jermaine Dye's sacrifice fly.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 1
    TORONTO 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 5 x 9 16 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHA - JOSE CONTRERAS, MIKE MACDOUGAL (7TH), MATT THORNTON (7TH),
    DAVID AARDSMA (8TH) AND TOBY HALL
    TOR - DUSTIN MCGOWAN, CASEY JANSSEN (8TH) AND SAL
    FASANO

    HOME

    Jun 2 3:49 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY AARON HILL SCORED FRANK THOMAS AND VERNON WELLS.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, 0 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TORONTO 9 END BOTTOM, 8TH

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 3:44 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY ALEX RIOS (13) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 8TH OFF DAVID AARDSMA SCORED ROYCE CLAYTON AND JOHN
    MCDONALD.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3, TORONTO 7
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: L OVERBAY (.259, 3-FOR-4)

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 3:38 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY AARON HILL SCORED FRANK THOMAS.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, A HILL ON SECOND, V WELLS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TORONTO 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A LIND (.226, 2-FOR-3)

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 3:22 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY VERNON WELLS SCORED SAL FASANO AND ALEX RIOS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, V WELLS ON FIRST, F THOMAS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TORONTO 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A HILL (.277, 0-FOR-3)

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 3:20 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JERMAINE DYE SCORED TADAHITO IGUCHI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 3
    TORONTO 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: P KONERKO (.224, 0-FOR-1)

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 2:00 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY SAL FASANO SCORED ADAM LIND.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S FASANO ON FIRST, R CLAYTON ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2
    TORONTO 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: H CLARK (.500, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 1:49 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JUAN URIBE SCORED JOE CREDE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J URIBE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHI WHITE SOX 2
    TORONTO 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: T HALL (.182, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 1:37 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHI WHITE SOX 1 1 1 0
    TORONTO 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CHA - JOSE CONTRERAS
    TOR - DUSTIN MCGOWAN

    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: H CLARK (.500, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    A RIOS (.299, 12 HR, 29 RBI)
    L OVERBAY (.249, 8 HR, 27 RBI

    White Sox vs. Blue JaysJun 2 1:15 PM