Encarnacion homers again, Blue Jays hit 4 to beat Tigers 9-2
TORONTO (AP) As the surging Blue Jays keep piling up wins, they're starting to believe in their own championship credentials.
Edwin Encarnacion homered for the fourth time in two days, Josh Donaldson also connected and Toronto beat the struggling Detroit Tigers 9-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Russell Martin and Kevin Pillar each hit a two-run shot for Toronto, which leads the majors with 184 home runs. The AL East leaders had their second straight four-homer game and sixth of the season.
''If this isn't the feel of a championship team, I don't know what is,'' Martin said. ''I feel like we're great offensively, we're great on defense, we're pitching great, our bullpen has depth. I like what we have going right now. We've just got to keep pushing, keep playing the game the way we play and I think we're going to do great things.''
Toronto's 45 home runs in August are the most in the majors. The Blue Jays have hit three or more in six of their past 11 games.
''It's definitely a special offense,'' Pillar said.
Mark Buehrle (14-6) allowed two runs in six-plus innings as the Blue Jays improved to 21-5 in August, matching the team record for wins in a month. Toronto went 21-9 in May 2014.
''It just seems like everything we're doing, we're doing right,'' Buehrle said. ''You just look at the whole picture of every aspect of baseball, we're doing pretty good.''
With the Blue Jays already leading 1-0 on Donaldson's 36th homer, Encarnacion doubled the advantage with a two-out drive off Alfredo Simon (11-9) in the first, going deep for the third straight at-bat.
Encarnacion hit three home runs and matched a Blue Jays record with nine RBIs in Saturday's 15-1 rout.
Sunday's solo drive extended Encarnacion's hitting streak to 25 games, the longest in the majors since a 28-game run by Colorado's Nolan Arenado in 2014.
The home run was Encarnacion's 30th of the season, 11 of which have come in August. He has a major league-leading 35 RBIs this month, breaking the club record he shared with Carlos Delgado, who had 34 in June 2003.
Toronto is the first team with three 30-homer hitters in the same season since the 2012 Angels, when Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo did it.
''We're playing great baseball,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''Everything's really clicking.''
Encarnacion has at least one extra-base hit in eight consecutive games, one shy of Shawn Green's team record set in 1999. He has at least one RBI in eight straight games, matching the Blue Jays record shared by Delgado, Willie Upshaw and Matt Stairs.
Encarnacion finished 2 for 3. He flied out to the warning track in right in the third, was hit by Simon's 47 mph eephus pitch in the fifth and singled in the seventh. He's batting .409 (38 for 93) during his hitting streak.
''There's really no words for it,'' Pillar said. ''You're witnessing something great and special.''
Donaldson went 2 for 5 with two RBIs, raising his major league-best total to 106.
Pillar went deep in the second and Martin made it 6-0 in the fourth, connecting for the second straight day. Both homers came with the count 0-2.
Ryan Goins hit a two-run double off Bruce Rondon in the eighth, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
Simon allowed six runs and six hits, including all four homers, in five innings as the last-place Tigers lost for the ninth time in 10 games.
''We ran into the best offensive team in the league,'' manager Brad Ausmus said. ''They were swinging the bats extremely well and we didn't pitch very well. That's not a good recipe.''
NEW SPOT FOR TULO
Toronto shook up its lineup, moving OF Ben Revere into the leadoff spot and dropping SS Troy Tulowitzki to fifth. Tulowitzki, who struck out four times Saturday, came in batting .227 since joining the Blue Jays last month. He went 1 for 4 with a double and fanned twice. Gibbons said the move is ''not necessarily'' permanent.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (left knee) threw a bullpen session in Florida and remains on track to start at Class A Lansing on Wednesday.
Tigers: After an off day Monday, Detroit begins a three-game series at Kansas City. RHP Justin Verlander (2-6, 3.45 ERA), who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a one-hit shutout against the Angels in his most recent outing, will start Tuesday. RHP Johnny Cueto (9-9, 2.94) goes for the Royals.
Blue Jays: LHP David Price (13-4, 2.42 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against Cleveland. Price is 4-0 in five starts with Toronto. RHP Danny Salazar (11-7, 3.30) will start for the Indians.