A handful of major league sluggers possess an ability to make everybody else stop what they're doing and watch when they come to bat. Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays might not be as well known to the outside world as teammate Jose Bautista, but his potential to go deep at any moment has the same kind of compelling power.
Just ask the other Blue Jays players who talked about Encarnacion hitting a home run for the 12th time in May and 14th time overall in a 3-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. Encarnacion's towering drive into the second deck at Rogers Centre SkyDome gave the Jays a 1-0 lead in the fourth against left-hander Drew Pomeranz. Via the Associated Press:
"You've got to make sure you're watching,'' catcher Erik Kratz said of Encarnacion's at bats. ''He makes the game look a little bit easier. It's definitely exciting to watch."
The Blue Jays' record for home runs in a month is 14, set by Bautista in June, 2012. With six games remaining before the calendar changes, Encarnacion is putting that mark in serious peril.
''When he gets hot, nobody can stop him,'' shortstop Jose Reyes said of Encarnacion.
And nobody can stop watching. (The Red Sox still haven't recovered.)
[Check out the major league scoreboard at Yahoo Sports for your team's results]
NOBODY'S MORE BUENO THAN WAINO:
That look of dissatisfaction on the face of right-hander Adam Wainwright probably comes from not being allowed to finish for a third shutout this season, which also would have been a career high. Instead, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny hoped enough people were watching Wainwright dissect the Cincinnati Reds so we could have a little Waino Appreciation Day. Wainwright allowed five hits and struck out 12 over eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory at Great American Ball Park.
''That's the epitome of pitching, in my opinion,'' manager Mike Matheny said. ''The people watching today maybe on the national (television) game, I hope they had an appreciation for what this guy does and how he does it.''
Watch him go to work:
HOUSTON, THIS IS DALLAS, OVER: Nobody — not even Wainwright — has been more effective lately than left-hander Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros. Keuchel pitched a four-hitter against the Seattle Mariners, lowering his ERA to 1.04 in his past four starts after allowing an unearned run in a 4-1 victory.
After a throwing error by Keuchel helped Seattle take a lead in the second, he settled down and retired 14 straight. He got offensive support by Marc Krauss an George Springer, who each went deep for a two-run homer against Hisashi Iwakuma.
Keuchel, who had more walks than strikeouts in his rookie season, said his approach to batters is different in 2014.
''I'm just trying to attack the zone,'' Keuchel said. ''I'm not trying to be too fine anymore. That's what I did my rookie year and obviously I had more walks than strikeouts.''
BRAVES MUTE ROCKIES:
The Colorado Rockies offense started hotter than anyone else's in MLB, but a trip to Turner Field and a few games against Atlanta Braves pitching has a way of cooling a team off. Right-hander Julio Teheran and two relievers four-hit the Rockies in a 7-0 victory in the series finale. The Rockies were shut out for the second time this season and scored a combined five runs in three games. Evan Gattis hit a pair of home runs Sunday for the Braves.
The Rockies still lead the league with 262 runs scored, along with hits, total bases and on-base plus slugging percentage, but they've also lost 16 games on the road to lead the league, and are five games back of the Giants in the NL West.
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