Edwin Encarnacion tries to etch his name into Major League Baseball's record books tonight, as the Toronto Blue Jays attempt to bounce back from a rare loss in the second test of a four-game set against the Kansas City Royals.
Encarnacion's historic month continued on Thursday with two more home runs, but his team's nine-game winning streak came to an end, as Kansas City managed an 8-6 win in 10 innings.
An error by shortstop Jose Reyes with two outs in the ninth led to the game- tying run and the Royals scored twice in the 10th off Todd Redmond (0-4) to win it. Alcides Escobar singled and Pedro Ciriaco was hit by a pitch to put two on with no outs in the 10th. Nori Aoki moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt for Omar Infante, whose liner to left knocked in both runners.
Wade Davis (4-1) tossed two perfect innings in relief of James Shields to earn the win and Greg Holland pitched around a two-out infield single to nail down his 15th save.
The loss spoiled another brilliant performance by Encarnacion, whose 15th and 16th home runs in May tied him with Mickey Mantle for most in the month in American League history. He's also one shy of Barry Bonds' major league record set in 2001.
"I don't know where it goes down in history, but it's pretty historic in my mind," manager John Gibbons said.
This was the slugger's fifth multi-home run game in May after hitting just two homers total in April.
"Encarnacion is probably the hottest hitter on the planet right now," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's got 16 home runs in May."
Jose Bautista also went deep for Toronto, which had won 12 of 13 coming in.
All nine Royals starters had at least one hit as their four-game skid was halted. Salvador Perez hit a solo home run, Infante drove in three runs and Escobar had three hits.
Hoping to slow Encarnacion down on Friday will be lefty Jason Vargas, who is 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA. Vargas did not get a decision on Sunday in Anaheim, despite a solid effort that saw him surrender just a run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 4-3 loss.
Vargas has faced the Blue Jays seven times and is 1-3 against them with a 5.90 ERA.
Toronto, meanwhile, will turn to lefty J.A. Happ, who has won his last three starts. Happ beat the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, as he scattered four hits and struck out seven over seven scoreless innings to run his record to 4-1, while lowering his ERA to 3.34.
"He's filling up the strike zone," Gibbons said. "He's locked in right now."
Happ has faced the Royals three times and is 2-1 against them with a 5.40 ERA.
The Royals took two of three from the Jays earlier this season.