Encarnacion leads charge in rout of D-backs
Slugger goes 3-for-3 with fifth homer in five games at Chase Field
PHOENIX -- At this point in the season, the Blue Jays are playing for little more than pride, and perhaps to carry some confidence into the offseason.
But knowing with certainty when its season will end will not stop the team from enjoying high-powered nights like Tuesday's and hot stretches like this one.
The Blue Jays pounded out 15 hits, including four home runs, as they slugged their way to their seventh win in their last nine contests with a 10-4 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.
"It's been a tough year for us, but we're playing some good baseball right now," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We've got some guys in there that are contributing and bringing some energy."
At least in Arizona, no Blue Jay deserves that description more than Edwin Encarnacion. While six Toronto players drove in runs Tuesday night, it was Encarnacion who stole the show in just the latest eye-popping performance of his brief but now historic career at Chase Field.
After tallying two RBIs and launching his 35th long ball of the year in the series' opener, the slugger went 3-for-3 with two walks Tuesday, scoring twice and driving in a run on his 36th homer. That blast made Encarnacion the first player, home or away, in Chase Field's 15-year history to homer in five consecutive games at the stadium.
"When they told me that, I didn't know," Encarnacion said. "I see the ball good here."
To say the least. Through Tuesday, the 30-year-old has played 14 career games in the desert but has already collected eight homers and driven in 12 runs.
"Eddie hits everywhere; he just hits really well here," Gibbons said. "He's a good hitter, but you get in those certain spots where you're confident, and good things happen."
Along with from Encarnacion, the rest of the Blue Jays' bats had their way Tuesday with D-backs starter Wade Miley, who entered the game with a 2.29 ERA since the start of July. After Brett Lawrie put Toronto on the board with an RBI single in the first, the club strung together five hits and two free passes in the second inning to knock Miley out of the game and go ahead, 5-0.
Jose Reyes delivered the first blow of the frame, knocking an RBI single to left before Rajai Davis crushed his third home run of the year into the left-center-field bleachers for a two-run shot. Lawrie then drove in Encarnacion, who had doubled, before the D-backs brought in Josh Collmenter, who retired the side only after the Blue Jays batted around.
"They've got a lot of good players over there," Miley said. "Just look at their lineup -- they've got a lot of good guys over there. What's causing their struggle, who knows? But at any point in time they can just kind of outhit anyone."
Given a sizable cushion to work with, Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond cruised through his first three innings, retiring his first nine batters in order. The only thing preventing the right-hander from turning his decent outing into a great one were a couple of mistakes he left up in the fourth and fifth. After Adam Eaton lined a hanging sinker over the right-field fence to break up the no-hitter, Didi Gregorius swatted a slider that caught too much of the plate out of the park for a two-run dinger, bringing the D-backs within 6-3.
"Those were bad pitches," Redmond said. "And that's what they're going to do with those pitches. Besides that, though, I was able to keep the ball down and work both sides of the plate."
The 28-year-old finished his night allowing just the three runs -- on four hits over five innings.
"He's got a good sinker, and he was throwing a mystery pitch up there for a little while," Eaton said. "It was a little offspeed pitch we didn't know if it was a split or a changeup. Throws decent hard and has good sink on his ball."
Arizona trimmed the Blue Jays' lead to two when Miguel Montero homered in the seventh off Neil Wagner before Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Moises Sierra gave the club back its breathing room with a trio of home runs in the final two innings.
"The offense did a great job tonight; hats off to them," Redmond said. "The team is playing great right now. We're pitching great, and the offense is coming around big time; they're putting runs up, and that's enabling us to go out and do our jobs."