Encarnacion hits 2 more homers, but Jays’ win streak snapped at 9
TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion’s latest power show wasn’t enough to prolong Toronto’s winning ways.
Omar Infante hit a two-run single in the 10th inning and the Kansas City Royals overcame two home runs by Encarnacion to beat the Blue Jays 8-6 on Thursday night, snapping Toronto’s winning streak at nine games.
Encarnacion matched a major-league record with his fifth multihomer game in a month. Albert Belle did it in September 1995 and Harmon Killebrew in May 1959.
"I don’t know where it goes down in history, but it’s pretty historic in my mind," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
The blasts were Encarnacion’s 15th and 16th in May, breaking Jose Bautista’s team record for homers in a month. Bautista hit 14 in June, 2012.
"Encarnacion is probably the hottest hitter on the planet right now," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Even Encarnacion was wowed when the second drive sailed out.
"The second homer today, I said, ‘Wow, it’s crazy,’" Encarnacion said. "But that’s how this game is."
The major-league record for home runs in May is 17, set by Barry Bonds in 2001. Encarnacion has two games remaining this month.
Encarnacion has 18 total homers, second in the majors to Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz, who has 19.
Both of Encarnacion’s homers, which came in the fourth and sixth innings, were two-run shots into the second deck, and both came off Royals right-hander James Shields.
Bautista added a two-run shot in the first as the Blue Jays boosted their MLB-leading total to 79. Toronto has hit at least one home run in 11 of the past 12 games.
Still, it was the Royals, who changed batting coaches earlier Thursday, who had the key hits when it counted.
Hours before the game, Kansas City named Dale Sveum the hitting coach and Mike Jirschele third-base coach. Pedro Grifol, who took over as hitting coach last season, was reassigned as a catching instructor.
"They sure looked a lot better tonight," Yost said of his offense. "That’s kind of what you hope for. You get a different voice and it kind of snaps everybody back to reality a little bit."
Facing Todd Redmond (0-4), Alcides Escobar singled to begin the 10th. Pedro Ciriaco was hit on the front of the helmet while squaring to bunt and Nori Aoki advanced the runners with a sacrifice before Infante lined a single just over the reach of leaping third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Wade Davis (4-1) worked two innings for the win and Greg Holland closed it out for his 15th save in 16 chances.
The Blue Jays were on the verge of victory in the ninth before the Royals tied it with an unearned run off Casey Janssen, who blew a save for the first time in nine chances this season.
"We were looking at two outs, nobody on in the ninth and darned if we didn’t make it work," Yost said.
After Bautista threw out Billy Butler at first base from right field for the second out, Alex Gordon singled to left and was replaced by pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson, who stole second and scored when Encarnacion couldn’t handle an errant, bouncing throw from shortstop Jose Reyes on Salvador Perez‘s grounder.
"There’s no excuse," Reyes said. "I should make a better throw there. That’s a routine groundball, I got it perfect. I just didn’t have enough on the throw."
Reyes batted with a runner on in the 10th but couldn’t atone for his gaffe, striking out looking to end it.
Perez hit a solo homer in the second for the Royals, who snapped a four-game skid and avoided matching their longest losing streak of the season.
"We were facing a hot team that had swept their last three teams," Dyson said. "I thought we did a great job to come over here and kind of break that up a little bit and get going."
Shields allowed six runs and eight hits in seven innings, including a season-worst three homers. He walked none and struck out six.
Toronto’s R.A. Dickey allowed five runs and a season-worst 10 hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
Kansas City’s 22 home runs are the fewest in the majors. … Janssen had converted 23 consecutive save opportunities. … Royals LHP Jason Vargas (4-2) faces Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (4-1) on Friday.