PHILADELPHIA -- The Blue Jays continue to roll, beating the Phillies, 7-2, on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.The Blue Jays are 15-6 since May 24, which is the second-best record in the American League and the third-best record in Major League Baseball in that span.Edward Encarnacion got things going
PHILADELPHIA -- The Blue Jays continue to roll, beating the Phillies, 7-2, on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
The Blue Jays are 15-6 since May 24, which is the second-best record in the American League and the third-best record in Major League Baseball in that span.
Edward Encarnacion got things going with a long solo homer in the second, and Marco Estrada took care of the rest, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 5-2.
"We're kind of putting everything together," Estrada said. "We're hitting, we're pitching. I've said it all year, we've a very dangerous team, and when we start putting things together, we're one of the best, if not the best. That's what you're seeing right now, and it shows."
Meanwhile, the Phillies continue their slide. They are 6-19 since May 18, which is the worst record in baseball. Jeremy Hellickson allowed four runs in six innings to fall to 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA (14 earned runs in 17 innings) in his last three starts. He walked the first two batters he faced in the fourth, which led to three runs.
"You walk the first two guys in an inning, you're just asking for trouble," Hellickson said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Started from the bottom: With the game tied at 1 in the fourth, Josh Donaldson and Encarnacion led off with a pair of walks, but after that it was the bottom of the order that got the job done. Russell Martin drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly, and No. 7 hitter Ryan Goins then came through with an RBI single. In the following at-bat, Devon Travis delivered another blow with an RBI double to the corner in left to cap the three-run frame.
Asche rises:Cody Asche has not provided much offense since he rejoined the Phillies late last month, but perhaps he started something positive Wednesday. He crushed a solo home run into the second deck in right field in the second inning to tie the game, and doubled to score a run in the fourth and doubled into the right-field corner in the ninth. Asche needs to continue to hit as the Phillies are evaluating his future in the organization.
Asche began working on ways to get quicker to the ball after he noticed that he was fouling off pitches he should be squaring up. Wednesday night's results could be an indicator that those adjustments paying off.
"It's good, confidence-wise, just to feel like you're providing something to the lineup," Asche said. "No one wants to just be there eating at-bats. When you're in the lineup, you want to bring something to the table."
Easy Eddie: Encarnacion gave the Blue Jays an early spark with a solo home run to left field in the second inning. According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's 17th homer of the season was projected to travel 418 feet and left his bat at 109 mph. It was the fifth home run in Encarnacion's previous 14 at-bats, and since May 1, he has 14 homers, which is tied for the most in the AL. He also has at least one RBI in six consecutive games and 42 RBIs over his previous 42 games.
"Eddie's locked in pretty good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "If you give him something to hit, he's going to hit it."
Hard times for Hector: Phillies setup man Hector Neris had been a surprising and key reason for the Phillies' 24-17 start, but he has struggled mightily lately. After posting a 1.29 ERA through 26 appearances through May 29, he is 0-1 with an 11.37 ERA in his last eight appearances. That included the three runs he allowed in two-thirds of an inning in the eighth.
"Everybody has bad times," Neris said. "The point is be back. Like, be focused and come back the next day, because this day has passed."
"We're starving for offense, and hopefully Cody can get it going. That's the best he's looked in a while." -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, on Asche.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Encarnacion has homered in four consecutive games at Citizens Bank Park. He has 11 home runs in just 19 games at the stadium during his career.
Estrada has surrendered five hits or fewer in 10 consecutive starts, which is a Blue Jays record.
Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ (7-3, 3.70 ERA ) will return to Citizens Bank Park when the Blue Jays conclude their two-game trip to Philadelphia on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Happ spent the first four years of his career with the Phillies. The veteran lefty surrendered four runs over seven innings in his last start, against the Orioles.
Phillies: Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (5-5, 2.98) pitches the series finale against the Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m. ET.. Nola is one of the Phillies' few All-Star candidates. He is 18th in the National League in ERA, 11th in WHIP (1.04) and third in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.50).
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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.