Encarnacion has 2 HRs, Blue Jays top Indians
TORONTO – At the midpoint of May, Edwin Encarnacion is on track for a memorable month.
Encarnacion hit two home runs, Juan Francisco also connected and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Thursday night to give manager John Gibbons his 400th career win.
Encarnacion hit a solo homer in the second off Danny Salazar and added a two-run blast in the fifth off C.C. Lee. It was his second multihomer game of the season and the 13th of his career.
“He’s one of the top sluggers in the game,” Gibbons said.
Encarnacion finished 3 for 4, adding a double in the third. His only out was a hard liner straight at third baseman Carlos Santana to open the seventh.
Encarnacion had just two home runs through April 30, but has hit six since. He’s doubled his RBI total with 15 so far in May, and 10 of his 14 hits this month have been for extra bases.
“I feel great at the plate the last couple of weeks,” Encarnacion said. “I’m very happy and very proud because I know when I feel like that I can help my team win a lot of games.”
Two batters after Encarnacion’s homer in the second, Francisco also went deep off Salazar (1-4), who lost for the fourth time in seven starts.
Gibbons wasn’t too moved about his minor milestone.
“In managerial history, I don’t know if that means a lot,” he said of his 400 wins. “It’s a nice round number.”
David Murphy homered for the Indians, whose streak of series victories was snapped at three.
Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ allowed one run and six hits in a season-high six innings. Happ (2-1) walked two and struck out four.
“He stepped up,” Gibbons said. “That was big for him, it really was.”
Brett Cecil pitched the seventh, Steve Delabar got two outs in the eighth and Aaron Loup got the third. Casey Janssen finished for his second save in two chances.
One night after setting season-highs with 15 runs and 22 hits, Cleveland struggled to get anything going offensively. Yan Gomes grounded into a double play with men at first and second in the second, and the Indians twice grounded into fielder’s choices with two on in the fourth.
“We just never really could sustain an inning,” manager Terry Francona said. “We’d get a couple guys on here and there and we just couldn’t really get three or four hits in a row.”
Murphy got the Indians on the board with his one-out homer in the fifth. Michael Bourn reached on a two-out single and Nick Swisher walked, but Ryan Raburn grounded out.
Raburn hit a leadoff double in the eighth and Santana walked, but Asdrubal Cabrera line out to right and pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall flied out on a ball that center fielder Anthony Gose tracked down in the gap.
“That was probably our biggest chance,” Francona said.
Gomes chased Delabar with an RBI single before Loup came on and struck out Murphy.
Salazar allowed two runs and five hits in four innings, his second shortest outing of the season. He walked two and struck out three.
“He had to work for everything,” Francona said.
Salazar is 0-6 with a 4.28 ERA in 10 career road starts.
“I just didn’t have a good feeling for the ball today to command my fastball, and my changeup wasn’t there,” Salazar said.
The Blue Jays used a single, a hit batter and a walk to load the bases against Salazar in the fourth, but Melky Cabrera struck out to end the threat.
Jose Bautista singled off Lee to start the fifth and Encarnacion followed with a second-deck blast to left, pausing at home plate to admire his towering drive.