Five Alive: Blue Jays extend winning streak with 12-6 victory over Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays' Juan Francisco celebrates a solo home run in the seventh inning of MLB baseball action against the Philadelphia Phillies in Toronto on Thursday, May 8, 2014. (Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 8, 2014 10:21PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 9, 2014 6:42AM EDT
TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays have put up some impressive numbers of late and the long ball is helping them get it done.
Edwin Encarnacion hit two of Toronto's season-high five home runs as the Blue Jays capped a two-game mini-sweep of Philadelphia by outscoring the Phillies 12-6 on Thursday at Rogers Centre. It was the second straight night that the Blue Jays had a double-digit run total as they extended their winning streak to five games.
"We're some kinda hot right now," said Jays manager John Gibbons.
Toronto (18-17) has hit at least one homer in eight straight games, a big reason why they have moved back over the .500 mark. Colby Rasmus, Juan Francisco and Adam Lind also went deep to help make a winner of R.A. Dickey (3-3).
"We're swinging it good right now and everybody is feeding off each other," Gibbons said. "I would say right now it's probably a good club to pitch for."
Dickey had a few rough moments but his knuckleball was moving nicely and it regularly handcuffed the Phillies. He worked into the seventh inning and struck out a season-high eight batters.
"I'm making strides," he said. "I had a good (knuckler). I had one that was a swing-and-miss one tonight. It was comfortable out of my hand all night long."
Former Blue Jay starter A.J. Burnett (2-2) was roughed up for six earned runs over six innings. He allowed nine hits and two walks while striking out four.
"Balls ran over the plate tonight," Burnett said. "I wasn't on the corners at all. The hook was inconsistent. I had it at times. The bottom line is the balls weren't on the corners, the ball was in the middle of the plate."
Encarnacion set the tone early by blasting his 200th career homer in the second inning.
"(I'm) swinging at better pitches, (I'm) more confident and (I'm) feeling great at the plate," Encarnacion said through translator Luis Rivera.
Rasmus hit a rainbow shot that barely cleared the wall by the right-field pole later in the frame. Lind added a two-run shot in the sixth inning as the Blue Jays pulled away.
"You want to come in and stop the bleeding and set the tone and that wasn't there," Burnett said.
Encarnacion added a two-run shot in the seventh and Francisco tagged a solo shot on the next pitch.
Jose Reyes broke out of a slump as his ground-rule double in the third inning ended an 0-for-10 skid. He stole third and came home on a Jose Bautista sacrifice fly.
Reyes was at it again in the fifth inning after he was hit by a pitch. The speedy shortstop -- who battled a hamstring problem last month -- stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a Bautista groundout.
"You can tell he's feeling a lot more comfortable and he was able to turn it loose," Gibbons said.
The Blue Jays have won their last eight meetings against Philadelphia (15-18). They will continue their nine-game homestand Friday with the opener of a four-game set against the Los Angeles Angels.
Toronto, which clobbered the Phillies 10-0 a night earlier, outhit Philadelphia 13-10 in front of an announced crowd of 18,158.
The Phillies opened the scoring in the second inning and scratched out singles runs in the fifth and the seventh. Ryan Howard hit a two-run shot off reliever Esmil Rogers in Philadelphia's three-run ninth inning.
Dickey allowed seven hits, three earned runs and walked three batters over 6 1-3 innings pitched.
Notes: The game took three hours to play. ... Olympic curling champion Brad Jacobs was in attendance. ... Toronto optioned right-hander Chad Jenkins to triple-A Buffalo before the game. ... Bautista has reached base in all 35 games this season. ... It was Encarnacion's 12th career multi-homer game. ... Howard has seven homers this season. ... Dustin McGowan (2-1) is scheduled to start for Toronto on Friday against Garrett Richards (3-0). ... It was the 20,000th game in franchise history for the Phillies. The team played its first game on May 1, 1883, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Providence Grays at Recreation Park.