TORONTO (AP) – Vernon Wells hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning to help the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Thursday night.

The Blue Jays took two of three from the A’s and have won six of eight overall.

Eric Byrnes hit a two-run homer for the Athletics, who lost for just the fourth time in their last 18 games.

Wells hit his 17th home run off Rich Harden (5-4), giving Toronto a 3-2 lead. Wells also hit a three-run homer in Toronto’s 8-0 victory Wednesday night.

Toronto starter Gustavo Chacin (7-5) won for the first time since June 6 – a span of seven starts. The 24-year-old left-hander allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2-3 innings. Miguel Batista pitched 1 1-3 innings for his 15th save in 16 chances.

Bobby Kielty led off the second with a single and Byrnes followed with his homer.

In the fifth, Toronto’s Frank Menechino walked and Frank Catalanotto doubled before Wells hit his two-out homer on a 2-2 pitch. Wells swung and missed badly at one of Harden’s hard fastballs before connecting.

Harden left in the sixth after consecutive walks to Reed Johnson and Gabe Gross. Ricardo Rincon relieved and walked Russ Adams before Catalanotto hit a hard grounder to shortstop Bobby Crosby, who was unable to get a corral it. Johnson scored on the RBI single.

Harden, who won his previous three starts, allowed four runs on a season-high six walks and five hits in five innings. The Canadian is 0-3 with a 5.59 ERA in five career starts against the Blue Jays.

Notes: Toronto INF Shea Hillenbrand had his first day off of the season. “He needs it,” manager John Gibbons said. Hillenbrand went for 1-for-9 on the homestand, dropping his average to .299. He won’t get much time off next week because he made the AL All-Star team. … Toronto 2B Orlando Hudson missed his second straight game because of tightness in his right hamstring. … The A’s signed RHP Jared Lansford, the son of former Oakland infielder Carney Lansford. Jared Lansford, the 69th overall pick, was 7-3 with a save and a 1.56 ERA in 13 games for the St. Francis High School Lancers in California. … Toronto won a series at home against Oakland for the time since a three-game sweep in May 2002.

AP-ES-07-07-05 2216EDT

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