TORONTO — Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion couldn't buy a hit earlier this week when he was stuck in a nasty slump.
Now it seems he can't miss when he steps up to the plate.
Encarnacion hit two homers and drove in five runs to power Toronto to an 11-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon. A day after delivering a walkoff homer, Encarnacion hit a three-run blast in the sixth inning and added a solo shot in the eighth.
"When you feel good, they can throw the ball on to the ground and you can still hit it," he said through a translator. "But when you're doing bad, they can throw it in the middle and you're still not going to hit it."
Encarnacion emerged from an 0-for-19 slump on Friday with a solo shot to lead off the 10th inning, giving the Blue Jays a 4-3 win.
He picked up where he left off on a glorious spring afternoon with the 23rd multi-homer game of his career. Encarnacion also had an RBI double and two walks.
"It's fun to watch," said Toronto starter J.A. Happ. "He gets in that zone where he doesn't miss pitches. It certainly helps us a bunch and it starts rubbing off on the rest of us too.
"That was a good win. The guys really battled today and stayed on them."
Michael Saunders followed Encarnacion's second blast with a solo shot of his own. Encarnacion has 15 homers on the season, four more than Saunders.
Toronto (34-30) gained another game on the division-leading Orioles, who started the day with a one-game lead on the Boston Red Sox. The Blue Jays had some early struggles this season but are now just 3 1/2 games off the pace.
"A tremendous day. We played good this whole series and really the last couple weeks we've been playing good baseball," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "The sky is not falling. It was a good game today."
Happ (7-3) gave up homers to Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Joey Rickard but still pitched seven innings for the win. Davis and Rickard homered in the Orioles' three-run fourth inning and Machado hit a solo shot in the sixth.
Happ allowed four earned runs and nine hits. He had five strikeouts and didn't walk a batter.
Starter Mike Wright worked five innings plus a batter for Baltimore (36-25), giving up four earned runs, six hits and five walks while striking out three.
He said he was burned by the free passes, and also offered mixed reviews of Encarnacion.
"He's one of the best hitters I think I’ve faced," Wright said. "He's really good, but he's also got holes. There's a reason he’s batting .240, I think we give him too much credit."
The Blue Jays, who outhit the Orioles 13-12, will try to win the four-game series Sunday afternoon.
Happ worked three scoreless frames before Rickard hit a solo shot in the fourth that barely cleared the wall in left field. It was his fifth homer of the season.
Machado followed with a double and came home on a Davis homer that curled inside the foul screen in right field. It was his 15th homer and the first extra-base hit from a left-handed hitter off Happ this season.
Machado led off the sixth inning with his 16th homer of the year. Reliever T.J. McFarland (1-2) was shelled for five earned runs over two innings of work.
With Toronto up 9-4, Baltimore threatened in the eighth inning by loading the bases on reliever Joe Biagini. Mark Trumbo hit an RBI single and veteran right-hander Gavin Floyd came on with the bases still full and nobody out.
Jonathan Schoop hit a sacrifice fly that scored Machado and pinch-hitter Hyun Soo Kim drew a walk before Francisco Pena grounded into a double play.
Jason Grilli worked a scoreless ninth for Toronto. The game took three hours five minutes to play and announced attendance was 47,651.
Notes: Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista sat out his second straight game with a sore thigh. Carrera replaced him in right field and in the leadoff spot. ... Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Prospect Anthony Alford suffered a concussion in a game Friday night. The outfielder with the class-A Dunedin Blue Jays collided with teammate Richard Urena. Alford had to be removed from the field on a stretcher. ... Right-hander Aaron Sanchez (5-1, 2.91 earned-run average) is scheduled to start the series finale against Baltimore righty Ubaldo Jimenez (3-6, 6.21).
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