Edwin Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar power Blue Jays past Indians 11-9 | iNFOnews

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Edwin Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar power Blue Jays past Indians 11-9

Toronto Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion, right, celebrates at home plate with Jose Bautista after hitting a two-run homerun off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (not shown) during the third inning of MLB action in Toronto on Saturday, July 14, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
July 14, 2012 - 4:34 PM

TORONTO - Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs and Yunel Escobar added a 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 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 headfirst 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, then stole third on a close call to make it 8-2. 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 the 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.

Cleveland tried to answer back in the fourth when Duncan hit a two-run homer off Laffey. The Jays lefty walked off the mound in the fifth, watched Encarnacion homer to give Toronto an 11-4 lead, and spent the rest of the game in the dugout.

The Indians put a big dent in Toronto's lead in the eighth inning with five runs. Jays reliever Jesse Chavez gave up a pair of two-run homers to Brantley and Kotchman. Casey Janssen entered the game for Chavez and allowed Travis Hafner to single in Asdrubal Cabrera, cutting Toronto's previously intimidating lead to 11-9.

Janssen held the line in the ninth for his 13th save of the season, helping the Blue Jays move back to a .500 record.

One day after a 1-0 loss to Cleveland in the series opener, Toronto's offence woke from its all-star break slumber in the first inning. Jimenez walked Colby Rasmus and Bautista before giving up a two-out double to Lind, giving the Jays a 2-0 lead.

The Indians answered back in the second inning. Laffey loaded the bases then hit Duncan to walk in Cleveland's first run, and Carlos Santana scored on a ground out by Kotchman to tie the game at two. But Toronto turned a double play on Kotchman's at-bat and Laffey struck out Lou Marson swinging to get out of the second inning without anymore damage.

Notes: Laffey was drafted by Cleveland in the 16th round of the 2003 draft. He spent his first four seasons with the Indians. ... Attendance at Rogers Centre was 32,517. ... Carlos Villanueva (3-0, 3.05 earned-run average) takes the mound for Toronto on Sunday against Cleveland's Derek Lowe (8-6, 4.43 ERA). Villanueva needs three more strikeouts to reach 500 in his career.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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