CLEVELAND -- When Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was announced Friday against the Blue Jays at Progressive Field, fans of Cleveland and Toronto applauded the slugger. The former Blue Jay gave the sellout crowd a show to remember, too, with four RBIs and three hits during the Indians' 13-3 win.In
CLEVELAND -- When Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was announced Friday against the Blue Jays at Progressive Field, fans of Cleveland and Toronto applauded the slugger. The former Blue Jay gave the sellout crowd a show to remember, too, with four RBIs and three hits during the Indians' 13-3 win.
In the midst of an offensive onslaught from the Indians, Encarnacion's performance stood out among the rest. He finished the game 3-for-4 with a homer, a double, two runs scored and a walk to go along with the four runs he drove in.
"He picked us up tonight," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Encarnacion. "Once he did, sometimes the hitting can get contagious and tonight was one of those nights. It was good. We're playing from a deficit and so many times that's been really difficult for us. Tonight, not only did we come back, but then we spread it out. That's a good way to play."
The highlight of Encarnacion's offense was a 421-foot solo homer over the wall in center that came in the second inning off a four-seamer low and away from starter Marco Estrada. Per Statcast™, the long ball had an exit velocity of 107 mph and a launch angle of 23 degrees.
"The home run he hit was a pretty good pitch, down and away," Estrada said. "But he's a great hitter. I let that one go really quick."
The long ball was Encarnacion's 20th, giving him six consecutive seasons of at least 20 home runs, tying him with Adam Jones and Andrew McCutchen for the fourth-longest active streak. The longest active streak is held by Nelson Cruz and Brian McCann (both with nine consecutive seasons), followed by Giancarlo Stanton (eight) and Jose Bautista (seven).
Encarnacion's second-inning homer was alo his first career home run against the Blue Jays, with whom he spent eight of his 14 Major League seasons (2009-2016). He has now homered against all 30 teams in the Majors.
Encarnacion also delivered the decisive blow to Estrada in the fifth, as his go-ahead, two-run double to the gap in left-center gave the Indians the lead for good.
"Oh yeah. Oh yeah," Francona said when asked about the importance of Encarnacion's double. "I mean getting it tied is good. And then when you get that lead, all of a sudden you're going to [reliever Bryan] Shaw and potentially Andrew [Miller]."
"Of course [that was a big hit]," Encarnacion added. "That's how we got in front and we took advantage."
Friday marked Encarnacion's 24th multi-hit game of the season, his fifth three-hit game and his fifth game of driving in at least three runs. The Indians have gone 5-0 when Encarnacion finishes with three or more RBIs.
In his first season as a member of the Indians, Encarnacion has swung the bat well against his former club. In four games against the Blue Jays, Encarnacion has gone 6-for-13 (.461) with a homer, a double, four runs scored, four RBIs and five walks.
"I mean I always try to give my best no matter who we're playing against," Encarnacion said. "But thank God I was able to have a good game against my ex-team."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.