TORONTO -- It was Edwing T-shirt giveaway day at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was instrumental in the Blue Jays' 5-2 victory over the D-backs.Encarnacion continued his torrid month by crushing his 19th home run of the season in the sixth inning to bring his Major
TORONTO -- It was Edwing T-shirt giveaway day at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was instrumental in the Blue Jays' 5-2 victory over the D-backs.
Encarnacion continued his torrid month by crushing his 19th home run of the season in the sixth inning to bring his Major League-leading RBI total to 62. The Dominican Republic native also leads the Majors with 22 RBIs in June, and he displayed his patented patient approach with two walks for good measure.
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"I feel good right now," Encarnacion said through team translator Josue Peley. "I've seen the numbers that I've had in this month compared to other months. It's impressive, but I just feel good at the plate right now."
Encarnacion's home run was also his MLB-best 37th in Interleague Play since the start of 2010, and the 287th homer of his career, putting the veteran slugger in 11th place all-time for home runs among Dominican ballplayers. The two-time All-Star's surge comes at a beneficial time for the Blue Jays, just days after Jose Bautista was put on the 15-day disabled list with turf toe.
"You've got to have guys step up," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who donned one of the T-shirts for his postgame news conference. "Eddie's just doing his normal thing, you can't ask for anything more. He does enough as it is. No doubt it's a big hole [losing Bautista], he's one of the better players in the game, but you've got to overcome that, and all it means is it's an opportunity for someone else.
"When guys start thinking, 'I've got to do a little bit more to cover up for this,' it doesn't work. The game's tough enough as it is. It's added pressure and you don't need that. Guys have been stepping up."
Encarnacion's giveaway day also came with some light-hearted fun by the Blue Jays' players and staff. The 33-year-old is known for raising his arm after hitting a home run, a symbol that has become known as the Edwing. Others have gone on to make images of Encarnacion holding a parrot on his arm, prompting outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to bring a stuffed parrot into the dugout prior to the game and Gibbons to do his news conference while doing the Edwing.
"He got it from ACE the mascot," a smiling Encarnacion said about Carrera's shenanigans. "I saw a picture [of Gibbons] and I think it's funny."
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"I'm thankful to God for this opportunity, and to hit a home run on the day they gave my T-shirt away."
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.