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Season-high five homers power Blue Jays past Phillies

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays offense is firing on all cylinders.

A night after blanking the Philadelphia Phillies in a 10-0 rout, Toronto was at it again.

The Blue Jays clubbed a season-high five homers, and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey turned in his fourth consecutive quality start in a 12-6 blowout of the Phillies at Rogers Centre on Thursday.

"We are some kind of hot right now," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after his club won its season-high fifth consecutive game. "It's dangerous and you put us in this ballpark, it's a home run heaven here. It's tough to pitch to. Everyone is feeding off each other."

The five-game win streak is Toronto's longest since winning 11 straight in June 2013, while the five home runs upped the club's American League-leading total to 49.

What's most impressive about the Blue Jays' current run is that the club has been feasting on top-level pitchers.

Toronto, which swept four games against Philadelphia this week, outscored the Phillies 31-11 over the four contests and plated 18 runs against the club's top three pitchers, left-handers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels and right-hander A.J. Burnett.

Gibbons said that is a major confidence boost for his team moving forward.

"That's big because they are some of the top (pitchers) in the game," he said. "We are not beating the average Joe. We are hot right now. Ride it while it lasts."

First baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit two homers -- the 200th and 201st of his career -- and went back-to-back with third baseman Juan Francisco as part of a three-run seventh inning. It was the first time the Blue Jays (18-17) hit back-to-back homers this season, and it was the 12th multi-homer game of Encarnacion's career.

Francisco finished 3-for-3 with a walk and extended his career-high hitting streak to eight games.

Designated hitter Adam Lind and center fielder Colby Rasmus also went deep to help the Blue Jays beat the Phillies for the eighth consecutive time.

Dickey (3-3) threw 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball and struck out a season-high eight batters as the Blue Jays earned a second straight win at Rogers Centre after sweeping a two-game set at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

"As far as the way (the knuckleball) felt out of my hand, I'm very encouraged," said Dickey, who has pitched at least six innings in six of his seven starts. "The last four times through, I feel like I've been taking some positive steps and I feel like I'm pitching even better than my lines are showing."

Burnett (2-2) got the ball for the Phillies a night after Lee was torched and was met with a similar fate. The 37-year-old Burnett surrendered seven runs (six earned) on a season-high nine hits. He entered the outing with a 0.98 ERA over his previous four starts, but Toronto hit the former Blue Jay early and often, chasing him after six innings.

"You want to come in and stop the bleeding and set the tone and that wasn't there," said Burnett, who is 0-4 with an 8.56 ERA at Rogers Centre since leaving the Blue Jays after the 2008 season.

"It's one of those series you've got to put behind you. We've got another series tomorrow. Move forward, positive thoughts, find a way to find some positives."

First baseman Ryan Howard hit a ninth-inning homer, his seventh of the year, while right fielder Marlon Byrd recorded his 15th multi-hit game of the season in the Phillies loss.

Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista drove in two runs and has reached base in 35 consecutive games thanks to a two-out single in the seventh.

The Blue Jays have the best run differential in the AL East at plus-20, while the Phillies' mark of minus-31 is the worst in the National League East.

"The way that this season has gone, we've been able to bounce back and come back in a series and change momentum and do things differently," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We'll work on that (Friday)."

NOTES: The Phillies, who face the New York Mets for three games at Citi Field this weekend, optioned INF Freddy Galvis to Triple-A Valley following the contest. ... The Phillies outrighted RHP Shawn Camp to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. RHP Luis Garcia was recalled from Lehigh Valley. ... The Blue Jays activated Lind off the disabled list prior to the game and optioned RHP Chad Jenkins to Triple-A Buffalo. ... Thursday's game marked the 20,000th for the Phillies franchise, making it the fourth club in major league history to reach the mark. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie (hamstring) missed his third consecutive game. He remains day-to-day.
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