arlington, texas – Vernon Wells kicked off his comeback tour with a homer display in his hometown.
Wells hit his fourth homer in three games and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for three runs in the ninth against closer Frank Francisco to beat the Texas Rangers, 3-1, on Thursday.
Wells, who grew up in Arlington, is coming off a disappointing season which could be blamed in part on a nagging wrist problem. He finished with 15 homers and 66 RBI, his fewest in each category since becoming a regular in 2002.
Wells is off to a good start this season, becoming the first Blue Jays player to homer in each of the first three games of the season.
“He’s been awesome, absolutely great,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “It’s just what we needed. You don’t expect him to hit home runs like that, but something close would be nice.”
Wells went 6 for 10 and drove in seven runs to help the Blue Jays take two of three against the team he followed as a kid.
“I guess (Wells’) wrist is well, because every pitch we made a mistake to him on, he didn’t miss it,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Rangers starter C.J. Wilson struck out nine and allowed five hits over seven innings in his return to the rotation, but Francisco (0-1) failed in his first save opportunity of the season.
Wells hit a leadoff homer to left on a 1-1 splitter from Francisco that was out over the plate.
“When you’re hitting home runs, they come in bunches,” Wells said. “It’s all a timing issue. If you keep your timing, it helps with the pitch location.”
Lyle Overbay followed with a triple, and Overbay made it 2-1 when he scored on Edwin Encarnacion’s sacrifice fly.
Rookie Mike McCoy added an RBI single to make it 3-1 and chase Francisco, who gave up three runs and four hits while getting only two outs.
Washington gave his closer, who wasn’t in the clubhouse after the game, a vote of confidence.
“We got what we wanted, into the ninth and to our closer, but it wasn’t his day,” Washington said. “I’m certain most of the time he’ll get it done.”
Casey Janssen (1-0) struck out the side in the eighth, and Jason Frasor got three outs for his second save in three chances.