Encarnacion homers twice as Blue Jays' offence thrives in win over Astros
Toronto Blue Jays' R.A Dickey pitches against the Houston Astros during first inning AL baseball game action Friday July 26, 2013 in Toronto. (Jon Blacker / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 26, 2013 10:47PM EDT
TORONTO -- By the time Edwin Encarnacion took his curtain call in the seventh inning, R.A. Dickey's rough night was forgotten.
Encarnacion hit two of the Toronto Blue Jays' five home runs, including a grand slam, in a 12-6 rout of the Houston Astros on Friday night at Rogers Centre. It marked their first consecutive victories since their 11-game winning streak last month.
Encarnacion was the star on a night baseballs were flying around the park. Toronto's cleanup hitter went 3-for-4 with five RBIs, becoming the first player in franchise history to hit two homers in the same inning since Joe Carter in 1993.
In the process, he and the rest of the lineup bailed out Dickey, who didn't have his best stuff. The knuckleballer saw his home ERA rise to 5.97 as he gave up five runs on seven hits, including the 18th home run hit on him at Rogers Centre this season.
"The balls fly in here," manager John Gibbons said Friday afternoon. "That's not always good for a knuckleballer. It's never good for anybody."
Dickey's struggles were a footnote because the offence came alive against Astros starter Jordan Lyles and got better against a young bullpen that couldn't stop the bleeding.
After falling behind 2-0 on a two-run home run by rookie left-fielder Marc Krauss in the second inning, Toronto got both runs back in the third. Shortstop Jose Reyes led off the inning with a solo homer, and Melky Cabrera scored on Jose Bautista's sacrifice fly.
An RBI double by Krauss restored the Astros' two-run lead, which Toronto third baseman Brett Lawrie cut in half with a solo home run in the fourth. Center-fielder Colby Rasmus continued his hot hitting of late with an RBI double an inning later, but Dickey was still in line for the loss when he left after six innings with the Blue Jays trailing 5-4.
A 6-4 deficit greeted the Blue Jays in the seventh, but that's when the lineup thrived. Encarnacion hit a lead-off home run against reliever Paul Clemens, and Adam Lind went deep right after to tie the score.
Second baseman Maicer Izturis drove in Ramsus -- the go-ahead run -- with a double, and later a bases-loaded walk by Wesley Wright kept the inning going. Encarnacion provided the fireworks with a no-doubt grand slam off Hector Ambriz.
Toronto batted around and put up eight runs in the seventh, their most productive inning since the all-star break.
But this was an offensive breakout that wasn't just about Encarnacion or a handful of home runs. Seven different hitters drove in at least a run, and every starter except Bautista and Josh Thole got a hit.
In musing about Dickey's struggles at Rogers Centre this season, Gibbons did allow that playing here isn't so bad.
"It's a good place to hit," he said.
It didn't hurt that the Blue Jays were facing an opponent that has given up the most runs in the majors.