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Jays' Towers wins consecutive decisions for 1st time since '05

" Back on track: Towers had won just two of his previous 19 starts before beating Minnesota last week. He followed that up by allowing four runs and five hits in five innings to beat the A's, his first back-to-back wins since August 2005.

" Happy return: Frank Thomas had three hits and two RBIs in his first game back in Oakland since signing as a free agent with the Blue Jays in the offseason.


" Quotable: "We've won my last three starts. That's what feels really good. We weren't winning any of my starts last year or earlier this year." -- Towers


-- ESPN.com news services

Blue Jays 11, Athletics 7

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Vernon Wells got the Toronto Blue Jays
started just like a good leadoff hitter should.

Wells homered twice to spark big innings that helped
Josh Towers
win consecutive decisions for the first time in nearly two years.
The Toronto Blue Jays snapped a four-game losing streak with a 11-7
victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

"They came in situations where I was able to get innings
started," Wells said. "That's the biggest thing. We were able to
score some runs. Hopefully we can continue to get better as an
offense and be more consistent. That's something we haven't been
able to do this year and I'm one of the big reasons why it's been
that way."

After signing a $126 million, seven-year contract in the
offseason, Wells has struggled for the Blue Jays and came into the
game with a .247 average. Expected to be one of Toronto's big run
producers, Wells has had his most success in his few chances in the
leadoff spot.

He is batting .371 with five homers and 11 RBIs in eight games
at the top of the order, helping Toronto win six of them. After
Toronto won five of six games with Wells leading off late last
month, manager John Gibbons moved him back down in the lineup and
the Blue Jays lost three straight.

Wells returned to the top spot in Sunday's loss at Seattle and
came through big against Lenny DiNardo (3-5) and the A's. Wells'
improved play has also come since he tinkered with his stance and
switched to a lighter bat.

"I'm not strong enough," he joked. "I'm a leadoff guy now. I
have to get on for the big guys."

Wells sparked a six-run third inning with a home run and added
another solo shot -- his 11th of the season -- to lead off the sixth
against Colby Lewis. Wells added two singles, matching his career
high with four hits.

That helped give Towers (4-5) all the support he needed to earn
the win. Towers had won just two of his previous 19 starts before
beating Minnesota last week. He followed that up by allowing four
runs and five hits in five innings to beat the A's, his first
back-to-back wins since August 2005 against the Orioles and the
Angels.

"We've won my last three starts. That's what feels really
good," Towers said. "We weren't winning any of my starts last
year or earlier this year."

Frank Thomas had three hits and two RBIs in his first game back
in Oakland since signing as a free agent with the Blue Jays in the
offseason. Thomas got a warm ovation before striking out in the
first inning. He followed that with three straight singles, driving
in runs in the third and sixth.

"You put him in the middle of the lineup and he's dangerous,"
A's manager Bob Geren said. "He's been dangerous for a long
time."

Dan Johnson went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs and Shannon Stewart had three hits and an RBI for the A's, who have lost eight
of 11.

DiNardo fell apart with one out in the third inning. Wells
homered to start a run of eight straight batters reaching base
against DiNardo, who ended his night with an error on Jason
Phillips' slow roller in front of the mound with the bases loaded.

Thomas and Adam Lind hit RBI singles in the inning,
Aaron Hill
added a run-scoring double and Royce Clayton hit a sacrifice fly
that scored Curtis Thigpen when catcher Kurt Suzuki couldn't handle
right fielder Nick Swisher's throw.

DiNardo allowed six runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in 2 1/3
innings, his shortest start of the season.

"I looked at the tape and it was like night and day," DiNardo
said. "The first two innings I felt like I was on my game. I was
pounding the strike zone down. I have to look at what happened in
the third inning and work on it."

The A's scored twice in the second inning on an RBI single by
Johnson and a run-scoring double by Marco Scutaro. Johnson added a
two-run homer in the fourth to cut Toronto's lead to 6-4, but that
was as close as the A's got as Toronto added two runs each in the
sixth and seventh innings.

Game notes
Wells has 16 career multihomer games. ... Scutaro was
replaced by pinch-runner Donnie Murphy after being hit on the hand
by a pitch from Jason Frasor in the seventh inning. He got X-rays
after the game and the A's hope it's just a bruise. ... Swisher
tossed his helmet aside in frustration after striking out in the
first inning. But he held on too long and the helmet went right at
plate umpire Tony Randazzo, who snagged it with one hand and smiled
at Swisher.