Blue Jays tee off on Phillies to finish sweep
TORONTO — An abundance of home runs has powered the Toronto Blue Jays to their best streak of the season.
Edwin Encarnacion hit two of Toronto’s season-high five homers and the Blue Jays won their eighth consecutive game over Philadelphia, beating the Phillies 12-6 on Thursday night.
Juan Francisco, Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus also went deep as Toronto extended its winning streak to a season-best five games.
“We are some kind of hot right now,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “You put us in this ballpark, it’s a home run heaven here. It’s tough to pitch to. Everyone is feeding off each other.”
Encarnacion hit a leadoff shot in the second inning against A.J. Burnett, his 200th career homer, and added a two-run drive off Luis Garcia in the seventh for his 12th career multihomer game.
“If we continue swinging the bat the way we are now, we’re going to have a great year,” Encarnacion said.
Francisco followed Encarnacion’s second home run with a shot to centre field, his second in two days, as the Blue Jays went back-to-back for the first time this season.
Lind hit a two-run homer in his return from the disabled list and Rasmus added a solo drive as the Blue Jays went deep for the eighth straight game. Toronto’s 49 home runs lead the American League. Colorado entered play Thursday with a major league-high 50.
R.A. Dickey, who pitched 6 1-3 innings to earn the win, said Toronto’s daily power display has made it fun for him to come to the ballpark.
“As a starter, you want to get in there as many times as you can,” Dickey said. “It’s just incredible the at-bats they are putting up and the consistency with power and getting on base.”
Dickey (3-3) allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings to win for the second time in three starts. The knuckleballer walked three and struck out a season-high eight.
“It’s encouraging to punch people out and keep guys off balance and feel crisp,” Dickey said.
Aaron Loup got one out in the seventh, Marcus Stroman worked 1 1-3 innings and Esmil Rogers gave up three runs in the ninth, including Ryan Howard’s two-run homer.
Burnett allowed season worsts of nine hits, including three homers, and seven runs in six innings as the Phillies lost their fourth straight, matching their longest slump of the season.
Burnett came in 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA over his previous four starts, but wasn’t at his best against his former team. Burnett (2-2), who lost for the first time since April 6 at Chicago, walked two and struck out four.
“Balls ran over the plate tonight,” Burnett said. “I wasn’t on the corners at all.”
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said he was frustrated as the Phillies lost two home games to Toronto before crossing the border into Canada and dropping two more by a combined score of 22-6.
“We weren’t fundamentally sound for the four games,” Sandberg said. “A lot of little things, little baserunning things, a base here and there, some defence, some pitches in the middle of the plate, pitching behind in the count. A lot of fundamental things we didn’t execute.”
Sandberg said he would speak to the team Friday before the opener of a three-game road series against the New York Mets.