Encarnacion homers twice as Jays thrive in win over Astros

The Canadian Press
7/26/2013 11:51:12 PM
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TORONTO -- By the time Edwin Encarnacion took his curtain call in the seventh inning, R.A. Dickey's rough night was forgotten.

The Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitcher watched as the lineup put on a show and was glad he didn't cost his team the game. It didn't matter that Dickey struggled because Encarnacion and Co. couldn't stop hitting.

Encarnacion became the first Toronto player in 20 years to hit two home runs in the same inning as he led the way for the Blue Jays' 12-6 rout of the Houston Astros on Friday night at Rogers Centre. It marked Toronto's first consecutive victories since its 11-game winning streak last month.

"I picked a good night to be very mediocre, that's for sure," said Dickey, who allowed five earned runs on seven hits in six innings. "But we had a great offensive night. I mean this night should definitely be about Edwin and what he did. I mean, how momentous. To get to see something like that's pretty neat."

Encarnacion led off the seventh with a solo home run off Astros reliever Paul Clemens. After his teammates ensured him another at-bat, the designated hitter connected on almost the same swing, this time off Hector Ambriz for a grand slam.

"I'm just thinking, 'Put the ball in play,' so I put it in play, I got a homer," Encarnacion said. "And then the second homer in the same inning, I don't know how to homer (twice) in one inning. I was enjoying the game with my guys, enjoying the game, we were laughing a little, happy because we were on the top of the game. I was so proud when they told me -- somebody I don't remember -- I had two homers in one inning."

The last Blue Jay to hit two home runs in one inning was Joe Carter, who completed that feat on Oct. 3, 1993.

"To get to see something that you only see once every 20 years is like seeing a comet," Dickey said. "It's pretty cool."

Encarnacion had a double earlier to make it a 3-for-4 night that he'll never forget because of his place in the record books.

"I don't think you can get any better than that," manager John Gibbons said. "He's had another great year, he really has. You look, he's been steady all year. Early on, he hit into a lot of tough luck early in the season, but I think he's been as steady, probably, as anybody in baseball."

Beyond Encarnacion, the Blue Jays' offence was steady Friday night against an opponent that has given up the most runs of any team in the majors. They started knocking around starter Jordan Lyles and continued to torment a young bullpen.

Seven different Toronto batters had at least one RBI, and every starter except Jose Bautista and Josh Thole picked up at least a hit. It was the kind of collective performance that Mark DeRosa said after a players-only meeting days earlier was necessary.

"They all pitched in," Gibbons said. "That's hard to do, and that's rare where everybody produces like that. But good teams, teams that win, everybody's got to pitch in one way or the other. You're going to run into stretches where some guys are cold and somebody else has got to pick you up, and then those guys tail off, the other guys usually come back. Nights where everybody's clicking, you get the big, big nights."

Friday night became big in the seventh-inning. The Blue Jays trailed 6-4 at the time but made up that deficit quickly with back-to-back homers from Encarnacion and first baseman Adam Lind.

Second baseman Maicer Izturis drove in Colby Ramsus -- the go-ahead run -- with a double, and later a bases-loaded walk by Wesley Wright kept things going. Encarnacion then provided the fireworks with his grand slam to cap off the eight-run inning.

"It did unravel rather quickly," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "They put some good swings on some pitches and you look up and it's an eight-spot."

Encarnacion wasn't sure his second home run was gone, but it wasn't surprising to him that he managed some good swings.

"I've been working with my timing the last couple days," he said. "I got my timing back, so I was seeing the ball good."

Astros hitters were seeing the ball well, too, off Dickey. The knuckleballer saw his home ERA rise to 5.97, and he gave up his 18th home run of the season at Rogers Centre.

"I didn't make many mistakes, but every one I made tonight got hit. Every one," Dickey said. "I did a lot of good things tonight and I'm always looking for things for improvement."

Improvement could take time as Dickey spends his remaining home starts trying to figure out how to hone his pitching in a hitters' park.

It played every bit as small Friday night as balls were flying all over the field. The Blue Jays tied a franchise record for extra-base hits with 12.

"We really came to life late to take the lead and open it up," Gibbons said. "It's a great place to hit, it really is. We swung it tonight."

NOTES -- Lawrie played the entire game at third base after both he and Izturis were listed there and at second on the lineup card. Gibbons said he didn't know who marked 4 and 5 on the card but repeated that he saw Lawrie as a third baseman. ... Astros right fielder J.D. Martinez left the game with a left wrist injury.

Edwin Encarnacion  (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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