Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of an interleague baseball game, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York
July 20, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) Edwin Encarnacion had a good time in Chase Field again on Tuesday night.

The Toronto slugger hit a three-run home run to give Aaron Sanchez all the support he needed in the Blue Jays' 5-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Encarnacion has hit nine home runs in seven games in Arizona.

''I see the ball real well,'' he said through an interpreter. ''I feel comfortable in this ballpark. ... Maybe it's the hitter's eye. It's really big. It's a green wall over there. Maybe it's that, I don't know.''

The first time he came up against Arizona's Zack Godley he flied out on a curveball.

''I just missed it the first at-bat so I was looking for it in my second at-bat,'' Encarnacion said. ''I didn't miss it that time.''

Sanchez (10-1), pitching on nine days' rest other than an inning in the All-Star Game, allowed a run and scattered six hits in seven innings to improve to 9-0 in his last 15 starts. He struck out five with no walks and hit two batters.

''He threw the heck out of the ball,'' Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said, ''and we knew it going in. He is an All-Star. His sinker is as good as anybody's.''

Asked if it took some time for him to get back in the groove after so long off, he said, ''I felt like it took a little bit.''

''But it's still pitching,'' Sanchez said. ''This is something that I do. So for me it's just kind of going back to what got me there.''

With the seven innings, Sanchez is up to 125 1/3 for the season. He's never pitched more than 133 1/3 innings in a season.

He could be pulled from the rotation in the midst of a breakout season with his team in a pennant chase.

''If and when it happens we're not going to be real popular,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''But it hasn't happened yet.''

Godley (2-1), called up from Triple-A Reno to make the start for Arizona, went five innings, giving up four runs, three earned, and six hits. He struck out seven and walked one.

With the victory in the opener of a two-game interleague series, the Blue Jays pulled within 1 1/2 games of first-place Baltimore in the AL East.

Josh Donaldson singled three times for Toronto, driving in a run and scoring another.

Godley retired the first two batters in the third before singles by Devon Travis and Donaldson. That brought up Encarnacion, who hit Godley's 2-1 pitch into the seats in left field and Toronto led 3-1.

Arizona had runners at second and third and one out in the third but Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to third and Jake Lamb flied out to center.

Travis singled again in the fifth and raced to third when Godley threw wildly to first on a pickoff try. Travis came home on Donaldson's single and the Blue Jays were up 4-1.

The Diamondbacks went ahead 1-0 in the first. Jean Segura led off with a single, stole second, took third on Michael Bourn's groundout and scored when Goldschmidt bounced out to second.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: OF Jose Bautista (turf toe) is to make his first rehab appearance for Class-A Dunedin on Wednesday. He is to play three games for Triple-A Buffalo over the weekend and, Gibbons said, if all goes well he will rejoin the Blue Jays on Monday.

Diamondbacks: OF David Peralta (lower back strain) was 1 for 6 with a double and RBI in his first two rehab games for Double-A Mobile. Hale said Peralta could rejoin the Diamondbacks next week. ... INF Chris Owings (plantar fasciitis in left foot) was 4 for 6 with a triple and two walks in two rehab games for Triple-A Reno.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays.: RHP Marcus Stroman (7-4, 4.89 ERA) takes the mound in a Wednesday afternoon game, the finale before the Jays head to Toronto for a nine-game homestand.

Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (4-8, 5.28) tries to bounce back from a rough start against the Dodgers in the last home game before Arizona embarks on a 10-game trip.

You May Like