Encarnacion homers to give Blue Jays walkoff victory over Orioles

Dusty Fields

Dusty Fields

Born in Vancouver but now live in the beautiful Toronto, Ontario. I like baseball, camping and being out on Lake Ontario in my boat. My dog Sparky loves it too! Make sure you follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest by clicking on the tabs.
Dusty Fields

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TORONTO — Mired in a long skid at the plate, Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacionwas due to break out of his slump on Friday night.

His first hit in 20 at-bats gave Toronto a walkoff victory.

Encarnacion worked a full count off reliever Brad Brach before belting a leadoff homer in the 10th inning to give the Blue Jays a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

“They had been throwing outside to me all day so I just tried to make an adjustment and it worked,” he said through a translator.

The opposite-field shot gave him 13 homers on the season and made him the eighth player in Blue Jays history with 600 career RBIs.

“He’s a feared guy,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons.

It was Encarnacion’s fifth career walkoff homer and first game-ender of the season. Brach (5-1) suffered his first loss since Sept. 28, 2015, also against Toronto.

“It was a good pitch by a good pitcher and hit by a good hitter, that’s why they call it the big leagues,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Drew Storen (1-2) worked the top half of the frame for the win. Jesse Chavez and Roberto Osuna also provided shutout relief after starter Marco Estrada’s solid six-inning effort.

The Blue Jays outhit the Orioles 10-4 in front of an announced crowd of 44,439. Encarnacion has driven in 48 runs on the season.

“To go (opposite-field) like that, I mean everybody has seen his power to the pull side, but to be able to just smash one and on a line, it was pretty fun to watch,” Storen said.

Toronto scratched out a run in the first inning and Michael Saunders hit a solo shot in the fourth while Estrada cruised through the first few frames.

The right-hander retired the first 10 batters he faced before issuing a walk to Hyun Soo Kim in the fourth. Baltimore’s first hit came an inning later as Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homer, his ninth blast of the year.

Slugger Chris Davis put Baltimore ahead in the sixth inning with a two-run shot. His 14th homer of the year came after Manny Machado reached on a walk.

The Blue Jays tied the game in the bottom half of the frame. Justin Smoak hit a double and scored on a Russell Martin single.

Estrada had eight strikeouts, allowing four hits, four walks and three earned runs. He has held opponents to five hits or fewer in a franchise record nine consecutive starts (minimum five IP per start).

“I felt really good. I made two mistakes and it cost me,” Estrada said. “These walks, they’re haunting me. I’m walking a lot of people. I was around the zone today and I feel like some pitches could have gone either way and it might have changed the game a little bit.

“But it’s a tough lineup. It’s a really tough lineup.”

Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, meanwhile, allowed eight hits, two earned runs and a pair of walks while striking out four. Baltimore (36-24) is now just one game up on second-place Boston in the American League East standings.

The Red Sox dumped the Minnesota Twins 8-1. Toronto (33-30) is 4 1/2 games behind the Orioles.

“We didn’t do a whole lot other than a couple home runs,” Showalter said. “We’ll sleep fast and do it again tomorrow.”

Notes: Saunders has 10 homers on the season. … The game took two hours 54 minutes to play. … Gibbons said he was hopeful that slugger Jose Bautista would be able to return to the lineup Saturday afternoon. Left-hander J.A. Happ (6-3, 3.57 earned-run average) is scheduled to start against Baltimore right-hander Mike Wright (3-3, 5.14 ERA). … Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, currently on the 15-day disabled list with a right quadriceps strain, took himself out of Friday’s extended spring-training game in Dunedin, Fla. Gibbons said Tulowitzki “just didn’t feel right.” He’s eligible to come off the DL on Sunday but there is no word yet on a return date. … A moment of silence was observed before the game for hockey legend Gordie Howe, who died Friday morning at age 88. … Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The Blue Jays selected pitcher Zach Jackson with their third-round pick (No. 103 overall) as the Major League Baseball draft continued Friday. Toronto made three picks Thursday and used their first-round selection to take right-hander T.J. Zeuch at No. 21. The draft wraps on Saturday.

The Canadian Press via Sportsnet.ca

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Dusty Fields

Born in Vancouver but now live in the beautiful Toronto, Ontario. I like baseball, camping and being out on Lake Ontario in my boat. My dog Sparky loves it too! Make sure you follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest by clicking on the tabs.

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