Encarnacion homers, Tribe wins in a rout
The Toronto Blue Jays know better than any team in baseball what happens when Edwin Encarnacion gets hot.
Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs against his former team as the Cleveland Indians routed Toronto 13-3 on Friday night.
“Yeah, many a time, thanks for reminding me,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons joked when asked about seeing similar performances when the slugger played six seasons with Toronto.
Encarnacion, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract with Cleveland in January, hit a leadoff home run in the second, broke a 3-all tie in the fifth with a two-run double and added an RBI single when Cleveland scored eight times in the seventh.
“I always try to give my best no matter who we’re playing,” he said. “Thankfully, I was able to have a good game against my ex-team.”
Encarnacion was 3 for 4 with a walk and nearly added to his total later in the seventh, but center fielder Kevin Pillar tracked down his fly ball on the warning track with two runners on.
Encarnacion’s big night couldn’t have come at a better time. The Indians won for just the second time in eight games and the offense scored 16 runs during a 1-5 road trip.
“He picked us up,” manager Terry Francona said. “Once he did, sometimes the hitting can get contagious. Tonight was one of those nights. It was good.”
Abraham Almonte hit a three-run homer and rookie Bradley Zimmer added a two-run single in the seventh.
Trevor Bauer (8-8) allowed three runs in five innings. The right-hander lasted only 2/3 of an inning — matching the shortest start of his career — against Oakland on Sunday.
Marco Estrada (4-7) gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings and hasn’t won since May 27.
Jose Morales, Ryan Goins and Justin Smoak drove in runs for Toronto, which took a 3-1 lead into the fifth before Cleveland scored four times.
Almonte led off with a triple and Roberto Perez walked. Erik Gonzalez’s single cut the lead to 3-2 and Francisco Lindor drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Michael Brantley’s RBI fielder’s choice tied the game.
Brantley stole second and Encarnacion lined a 3-2 pitch to the gap in left-center giving Cleveland the lead.
“We’re playing from a deficit and so many times that’s been really difficult for us,” Francona said. “Not only did we come back, but then we spread it out. That’s a good way to play.”
Encarnacion has hit 20 home runs in six consecutive seasons.