He made the most of it.
Wells burned his former team by beating Greg Maddux in a matchup of 40-something pitchers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat San Diego 6-3 on Thursday night to move within 1½ games of the Padres in the NL wild-card race.
Released by the Padres last month, Wells (8-8) allowed four hits and three runs in six innings with one walk and three strikeouts. He also had two hits off Maddux for the first multihit game of his 21-year career.
"They gave up on me; I didn't give up on myself," said the portly 44-year-old left-hander, who went 0-3 with a 14.33 ERA in his last four starts for the Padres before being designated for assignment Aug. 9, and released four days later.
"I threw poorly. I can't blame them," Wells said. "It's nice to go out there against them and pitch solid. I know what I'm doing out there; it's just a matter of going out there and doing it.
"I've never doubted my ability to pitch. I'll take the ball any given day -- I enjoy it. I love the game."
Wells was 5-8 with a 5.54 ERA for the Padres. He's 3-0 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts since joining the Dodgers on Aug. 24.
Philadelphia also trails San Diego by 1½ games, and Colorado is 2½ back. The second-place Padres trail NL West-leading Arizona by four games and Los Angeles is 5½ behind. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks begin a three-game series Friday night.
The Padres had only two baserunners in the first five innings against Wells, who earned his 238th career victory. He tired in the sixth, but the Dodgers had the game well in hand.
"Boomer has a lot of self-confidence," Maddux said. "There's nothing he can't do if he puts his mind to it. He's the kind of pitcher who can step it up a notch when he has to."
The last player older than Wells to have his first career multihit game was Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige, who was 45 when he did it in 1952, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"I'll keep a little clipping. I'll clip it out," Wells said with a smile, referring to the box score.
Maddux (12-10) entered having allowed three runs or fewer in 11 consecutive starts, but that streak ended decisively as the Dodgers scored six runs on 10 hits in Maddux's 3 1/3 innings -- his shortest stint of the season.
The 41-year-old right-hander, a winner of 345 games -- ninth on baseball's career list -- did extend his streak of not walking a batter to nine starts and 57 2/3 innings. The loss snapped a personal five-game winning streak.
"They hit a few balls pretty good and a few balls that found some holes," Maddux said. "When you combine it, it looks bad. But you kind of let it go and tip your hat. They were better tonight."
Loney tore up the Padres in the series, going 9-for-13 with eight RBI, raising his batting average to .329. The 23-year-old rookie has five of his 11 home runs and 12 of his 52 RBI in his past seven games. He has played in 80 games this season.
"I'm having fun right now," he said. "I don't put too much pressure on myself. They put me in there to produce."
Said Maddux: "I knew he was good; I played with him last year. He's not sneaking up on anybody."
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Loney's one-out RBI double. Jeff Kent followed with an infield hit that glanced off Maddux to put runners at first and third, but Maddux speared Luis Gonzalez's hot shot up the middle and started an inning-ending double play.
The Dodgers made it 4-0 in the fourth, scoring on a two-run single by Loney and an RBI single by Gonzalez before Kent tried to score from third on Russell Martin's fly to center and was thrown out by Mike Cameron for another inning-ending double play.
Maddux was relieved by Kevin Cameron after Wells' second hit of the game, which put runners at the corners with one out in the fourth. Rafael Furcal's squeeze bunt made it 5-0, and Loney hit a run-scoring single later in the inning.
- Furcal scored three runs and had three stolen bases.
- San Diego's Kevin Kouzmanoff reached base safely in his 10th consecutive at-bat with a second-inning single before grounding to third in the fifth. He had eight hits and two walks during the streak, with the eight consecutive hits tying a franchise record.
- Wells doubled in the third and singled in the fourth, giving him 22 hits in 172 lifetime at-bats (.128). He has 20 singles and two doubles.
- Maddux and Wells matched up for only the second time -- their previous meeting was last Sept. 15, when Maddux and the Dodgers beat Wells and the Padres 3-1.