Tigers-Blue Jays Preview

Although it's highly unlikely that Edwin Encarnacion can top his latest performance during a lengthy hit streak, he'll at least try to keep the Toronto Blue Jays clicking at the plate in his encore.

While Encarnacion will attempt to extend his streak to 25 games Sunday, the Blue Jays look to finish off their first three-game home sweep of the Detroit Tigers in 12 years.

Encarnacion matched a franchise record with nine RBIs and homered three times in a 15-1 victory over the Tigers on Saturday. With six homers and 23 RBIs in his last seven games, he now has 10 longballs and 34 RBIs to go with a .400 average on his streak.

"He's some kind of locked in," manager John Gibbons said.

Encarnacion's career-best streak is the longest in the majors since Nolan Arenado's 28-gamer for Colorado last season and longest in the AL since Dustin Pedroia's 25-gamer with Boston in 2011. He is one shy of matching the fourth-longest for the Blue Jays - done by Scott Rolen in 2009 - and four away from tying Shawn Green's franchise best from 1999.

With Encarnacion's grand assistance, Toronto (73-56) is batting .345 with 75 runs and 18 homers while winning seven of eight. The AL East leaders are averaging 6.0 runs while taking 14 of 17 at home and have seven homers in the first two against Detroit (60-69).

Alfredo Simon (11-8, 4.89 ERA) is next up to try cooling Toronto's scorching offense and is 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA in four starts this month. That lone victory, though, was a one-hitter in a 4-0 win against Texas on Aug. 20.

Simon made his only two starts against the Blue Jays in 2011 while with Baltimore. In this one, he'll try to help the scuffling Tigers avoid their first three-game sweep in Toronto since Sept. 5-7, 2003.

The Blue Jays, who swept a three-game set in Detroit last year, are batting .309 with 39 runs and 11 homers while going 3-2 in this season's series.

Toronto will try to provide support for Mark Buehrle (13-6, 3.60) as he seeks his highest win total since going 15-12 for the Chicago White Sox in 2008. The left-hander is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in his last two but is 4-0 with a 2.81 ERA in his last seven at home.

In his first start against Detroit in a little more than a year, Buehrle will face a team batting .237 and averaging 2.9 runs in a 1-8 stretch. Victor Martinez has been one of the struggling Tigers hitters of late, going 4 for 32, and manager Brad Ausmus contends his DH hasn't recovered from offseason surgery on his left knee.

"You talk to people that have had knee surgeries, sometimes they say it takes a year (to feel right)," Ausmus told MLB's official website. "He's not hurting. He doesn't feel any pain, but ... I just don't think he's ever been right since the injury, and it might take an offseason to get him right."

Martinez is 28 for 78 (.359) lifetime against Buehrle, and only Michael Cuddyer (31) has gotten more hits off the left-hander. He's also had just four at-bats versus the Toronto starter in the past three seasons, collecting one single.

Miguel Cabrera, meanwhile, has nine hits in his last 13 at-bats against Buehrle but is 1 for 11 with six strikeouts in his last three games after hitting .489 in his first 12 back from a strained left calf. Cabrera, hitting .361, is back on top of the AL batting race after getting enough at-bats to qualify.

Encarnacion is 2 for 8 lifetime against Simon and will face him for the first time since 2011.


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