ANAHEIM -- Edwin Encarnacion doesn’t appear to be slowing down and neither does his trademark "parrot."
The 36-year-old slugger let it fly again Sunday, smacking his 19th and 20th home runs of the season for the Mariners in a 9-3 win over the Angels, giving him 400 for his career.
The veteran designated hitter/first baseman moved past Andres Gallaraga and Hall of Famer Al Kaline into 56th place on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run list. Next up is Duke Snider, another Hall of Famer, in 55th with 407.
The Dominican Republic native also surpassed 1,200 RBIs for his career as his three on Sunday hiked his total to 1,202, joining Albert Pujols (2,017), Miguel Cabrera (1,662) and Robinson Cano (1,247) as the only active players to hit that plateau.
“It’s a lot of homers and a lot of RBIs,” Encarnacion said. “I never expected to get to this point. The only thing I can do is keep working. Keep working hard, keep focused and do the best I can to help my team win.”
Encarnacion was acquired by the Mariners on Dec. 13 as one of several moves to unload long-term salary for shorter-term deals that would free up the club in future seasons. The expectation was that Encarnacion would be traded, as well, but so far he’s remained with Seattle and is putting together a big season in the middle of their lineup with 46 RBIs in 63 games.
“What can you say about Edwin Encarnacion?” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Unbelievable. Only 55 guys in the history of this game have done it out of 19,000 guys that have played.
“I’m a little disappointed nothing showed up on the [video] board here to be honest. But everybody in our dugout knew what was going on and how important it is to him. He’s been really a true professional since we got him. I’m just really happy for him.”
Encarnacion has the most homers (283) and RBIs (810) of any MLB player since 2012. He’s hit 32 or more homers each of those past seven seasons and is on pace for 50 this year, which would eclipse his career high of 42.
Encarnacion has hit seven homers and 12 RBIs in the first nine games this month.
“He’s been on fire, seeing the ball really good,” Servais said. “He has the ability to hit the ball in the air. He’s done it for a long time. It’s really the consistency and longevity, staying on the field and staying on top of your game as long as he has. It says a lot.”
The Mariners clubbed six homers in Sunday’s win, including two by catcher Tom Murphy, as well. With 17 long balls now in his five-year career, Murphy isn’t planning on catching Encarnacion.
“I don’t think I’ll ever have a parrot on my arm, that’s for sure,” Murphy said. “That guy has impressed me more than anybody on this team, the way he shows up every day and gives 100 percent effort.
“I still think back to the dive at second base he had in New York [when filling in as an emergency middle infielder in a short-handed game against the Yankees]. You don’t see that often with a guy with his pedigree and that sort of thing. It’s just amazing to me.”