Encarnacion powers Jays to victory
TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs and Yunel Escobar added one of his own as the Toronto Blue Jays outslugged the Cleveland Indians 11-9 on Saturday.
Encarnacion and Escobar each hit two-run homers as the Blue Jays (44-44) exploded with eight runs in the third inning to chase Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Encarnacion, who signed a US$27-million, three-year contract extension on Thursday, also hit a solo shot in the fifth for his first multi-homer game of the season and the eighth of his career.
Aaron Laffey (1-1) meanwhile laboured through five innings for Toronto, allowing a home run and four earned runs on eight hits, but still earned his first win of the season.
His last win was Sept. 17 at Rogers Centre, when he beat the Jays in a New York Yankees uniform.
Shelley Duncan, Michael Brantley and Casey Kotchman homered for the Indians (45-42), who entered the day tied for a wildcard-playoff berth and three games back of the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead.
Jimenez (8-8) did Cleveland’s bullpen no favours by pitching just 2 1/3 innings, and allowing two home runs and eight earned runs on seven hits.
He imploded in the third inning, giving up five straight hits, including a pair of homers.
First, Jose Bautista broke an 0-for-12 career hitting drought against Jimenez by sprinting hard to reach second base on a head-first slide. Simply jogging to first would have sufficed: Encarnacion followed in the next at-bat with his 24th homer of the year to left field.
Not to be outdone, Adam Lind showed some hustle to earn a single and Escobar added a two-run homer to give Toronto a 6-2 lead.
The Jays continued to abuse Jimenez with Kelly Johnson hitting a double, then stealing third. J.P. Arencibia drove home Johnson on a double, prompting Indians manager Manny Acta to show some mercy by yanking Jimenez in favour of lefty reliever Scott Barnes.
The move didn’t pay off. Brett Lawrie doubled in Arencibia to make it 8-2, then stole third on a close call. Barnes walked Bautista and Encarnacion, both making their second appearances of the inning, and Lind’s second single of the third scored Lawrie and Bautista to give Toronto a 10-2 lead.
Escobar struck out in the next at-bat, ending an inning that saw two home runs, four doubles and two singles. It was only the fourth time in franchise history Toronto has had six extra-base hits, one shy of the record, in an inning.
Yankees 5, Angels 3: At New York, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson each hit two-run homers off Jerome Williams, leading the New York Yankees to a victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Freddy Garcia and three relievers kept Mark Trumbo in the ballpark, denying him a homer in a record sixth straight game against the Yankees.
Nick Swisher, who appeared to rob Trumbo of a second long ball Friday night in helping New York rally late for a win, made another leaping catch at the right-field wall. His flashy grab of Howie Kendrick’s drive to end the fifth inning, however, would have landed on the warning track.
Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 1: At Chicago, Ryan Dempster tied the Cubs’ record with a 33-inning scoreless streak, pitching six solid frames and leading Chicago over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Dempster matched the club shutout streak set by Ken Holtzman in 1969.
Dempster (5-3) allowed four hits and set a career best by winning his fifth straight start. He leads the majors with a 1.86 ERA.
Reds 3, Cards 2: At Cincinnati, Ryan Ludwick led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a full-count homer that barely cleared the wall in left field, sending the Cincinnati Reds to their fifth straight win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cincinnati’s surge has moved it back into first place in the NL Central. The Reds have matched their season high at 11 games over .500.
Ludwick, a former Cardinal, got two strikes to start his at-bat against Victor Marte (2-2), fouled off three pitches, then worked the count full. He connected for his 13th homer, flinging his helmet away before jumping into the pile of teammates at home.
Braves 8, Mets 7: At Atlanta, Jason Heyward singled to cap a three-run rally and the Atlanta Braves took advantage after the umpires reversed a call, beating the New York Mets for their sixth straight win.
The Braves’ comeback prevented a shaky R.A. Dickey from getting his 11th win in a row.
Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected while disputing a call in Atlanta’s two-run fifth.
Third base umpire Dale Scott, the crew chief, initially ruled left fielder Jordany Valdespin made a diving catch on Heyward’s liner, with Martin Prado trapped while returning to first base for an apparent inning-ending double play.
But after the umpires conferred, they ruled — correctly, as replays showed — that Heyward’s ball had bounced. The umpires then placed Prado on second.
Orioles 8, Tigers 6: At Baltimore, Taylor Teagarden ended his first game with the Baltimore Orioles in stunning fashion, hitting a two-run homer in the 13th inning that sealed an 8-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
In a crazy, back-and-forth duel that lasted 4 hours, 43 minutes, Baltimore scored three runs in the 13th for its 10th straight extra-inning win and snapped Detroit’s six-game winning streak.
The Orioles scored in the 11th after the Tigers scored in the top half, then rallied again in the 13th after Quintin Berry put Detroit ahead 6-5 with a two-out RBI single. In the bottom half, J.J. Hardy ended an 0-for-28 skid with a tying solo homer off Joaquin Benoit (1-2).