ST. PETERSBURG -- Edwin Encarnacion crossed home plate, turned and had a familiar face waiting for him Tuesday night. The Indians' slugger walked up to Josh Donaldson and the pair renewed a celebration they did often during their days together in Toronto's lineup.Following Encarnacion's 30th home run of the season
ST. PETERSBURG -- Edwin Encarnacion crossed home plate, turned and had a familiar face waiting for him Tuesday night. The Indians' slugger walked up to Josh Donaldson and the pair renewed a celebration they did often during their days together in Toronto's lineup.
Following Encarnacion's 30th home run of the season -- giving him at least that many in seven straight seasons -- the reunited teammates slapped hands and then put a finger to their lips. There was no silencing the considerable number of Tribe fans in Tropicana Field cheering the sixth-inning blast that helped propel the Indians to a 2-0 victory over the Rays.
"That's very fun, man," Encarnacion said about reigniting the post-homer routine with Donaldson. "That's how we try to have fun out there. It feels great to have him back in the same lineup together."
Donaldson -- acquired via trade from the Blue Jays on Aug. 31 -- was activated from the disabled list prior to the game.
With the Indians clinging to a 1-0 lead in the sixth, Encarnacion crushed an elevated first-pitch fastball from Tyler Glasnow to deep left field. The no-doubt blast soared a projected 422 feet and had an exit velocity of 107.7 mph, per Statcast™.
Dating back to 2012, Encarnacion has launched a Major League-leading 261 home runs. Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz ranks second with 251 over that seven-season span. The Indians' veteran designated hitter is the only player in MLB to have at least 30 homers in each of those seven campaigns.
Prior to Encarnacion's active streak, the last MLB hitter to belt at least 30 homers in seven straight years was Tigers first baseman/designated hitter Jose Cabrera (2007-13).
"It's something I never expected," Encarnacion said, "To have the season I'm having, and seven straight years with 30 homers or more, it's very impressive. I'm very proud with what I've been doing."
Encarnacion is also at 96 RBIs on the season, putting him four shy of reaching the century mark for the sixth time in the past seven years.
"As long as he can stay on the field, which he has, he's going to hit 30 and drive in 100," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Hopefully, a bunch more. It's important. You've got to have a certain amount of runs, and you know he's going to drive in 100."
Encarnacion also joined teammates Jose Ramirez (37 homers) and Francisco Lindor (34) in the 30-homer club this season. They are the first trio of teammates to each reach the mark in the same season since 2016, when the Mariners, Orioles and Red Sox had hitters achieve the feat. It marks the fifth time in Indians history -- and the first time since 1999 -- that the club has had three batters with 30 or more homers.
"That's unbelievable, man," said Indians catcher Yan Gomes. "Right after that, I looked at the umpire and I was like, 'Man, that's seven years he's done that.' I don't even know how that feels, man. It takes me two, three years to hit 30 and these guys do it on a regular basis. It's pretty unbelievable and I'm very honored to be playing with him and calling him a teammate."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.