TORONTO (AP) — These are the Toronto Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion expected after a busy offseason.
Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs, Josh Johnson earned his first win of the season and the Blue Jays matched a team record by winning their 11th straight game Sunday, finishing a three-game sweep of Baltimore with a 13-5 win.
The Blue Jays have gone 28-15 since May 2, when they were a season-worst 10-21. They’ve won 15 of their past 18, outscoring their opponents 102-52 in that span.
“I’ve been waiting for this since the season started,” Encarnacion said. “I believe in this team so I knew things had to change, things had to become good for us. That’s the way right now and we enjoy it, enjoy the moment. I’m not surprised by this. I know this team is good and I know we can do it.”
Toronto has swept three consecutive series for the first time since 1998, the last time they won 11 straight. The Blue Jays also won 11 consecutive games in 1987.
“Everybody is doing their job, everybody is pitching in,” Johnson said. “It’s been impressive.”
Playing before a sellout crowd of 45,214, Toronto became the first team since Detroit in 2011 to win 11 straight.
“We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We shut down a really good team over there.”
The Blue Jays, who begin a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Monday, have not lost since a 10-6 defeat at the Chicago White Sox on June 10.
“A lot of guys have been in a good rhythm at the same time, which is kind of what we didn’t have to start the season,” catcher J.P. Arencibia said.
Ryan Flaherty hit two homers but Baltimore lost for the fifth time in eight games and allowed a season high in runs.
“We ran into a good team and came up short,” Flaherty said.
Johnson (1-2) was winless in his first seven starts with Toronto, receiving just 13 total runs of support and losing twice. That changed Sunday, as the Blue Jays helped the right-hander with an early offensive barrage, scoring nine times in the first three innings.
Johnson allowed four runs and seven hits in six-plus innings, walked one and struck out five. He’s 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts since missing 31 games with a right triceps injury, and has struck out 25 batters in his past 25 1-3 innings.
“It’s not an easy lineup to face regardless of the score,” Gibbons said. “That’s another good outing for him. That’s one win. Getting on the board so you’ve got something to show for it always makes you feel good.”
Aaron Loup, Juan Perez and Dustin McGowan each worked one inning.
Flaherty hit a two-run shot off Johnson in the seventh and a solo homer off McGowan in the ninth for his first career multihomer game. He has five home runs this season.
With first base open, the Blue Jays intentionally walked Orioles slugger Chris Davis to load the bases for Matt Wieters in the first, but Johnson got Wieters to foul out.
“Every time you turn on the highlights he’s doing some damage somewhere,” Gibbons said of Davis. “We’ve seen plenty of that. That’s key, getting out of that first inning without any runs.”
Arencibia was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom half to drive in the game’s first run.
The Blue Jays used small ball and the long ball to score three more in the second. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a bunt single over the head of Baltimore starter Freddy Garcia, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice fly. Jose Bautista walked and Encarnacion followed with a first-pitch homer to left.
Toronto blew it open with a five-run, bat-around third. Maicer Izturis and Bonifacio chased Garcia with back-to-back RBI doubles, bringing left-hander T.J. McFarland out of the bullpen. One out later, Cabrera singled home a run, Bautista walked and Encarnacion hit a two-run double.
Baltimore broke through against Johnson in the fifth, when Manny Machado led off with his ML-leading 34th double and scored on a double by Nick Markakis. Markakis went to third on Adam Jones’ grounder and scored when Davis reached on Bonifacio’s fielding error. Davis was credited with an RBI.
Flaherty’s two-run homer made it 9-4 but Toronto answered with four in the bottom half. Colby Rasmus led off with a homer against McFarland, his 14th, and Bautista hit a bases-loaded double off Pedro Strop.
Garcia (3-5) had won his previous two outings in Toronto but lost for the third time in four starts. He allowed a season-worst seven runs and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings, his shortest start of the year.
“I made some good pitches and they just hit them,” Garcia said. “Right now everything is going good for them. It’s part of the game. You can’t do anything about it.”
Machado thought he’d fouled Johnson’s strike three pitch into the dirt when he struck out in the first. After plate ump Doug Eddings checked the ball and upheld the call, Orioles manager Buck Showalter came out to see the ball for himself.
NOTES: Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB Network Radio that SS Jose Reyes (left ankle) will play one more rehab game at Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, then will likely join Double-A New Hampshire when Buffalo goes on the road. Anthopoulos said Reyes might not rejoin the Blue Jays until Thursday in Boston. … Arencibia had three hits and scored twice. … Blue Jays cleanup hitter Adam Lind has base hits in each of his past seven first inning at-bats, including two home runs. … Toronto RHP Kyle Drabek (elbow surgery) allowed two runs and five hits in 2 1-3 innings in his first rehab start at Class-A Dunedin on Saturday. Drabek struck out two, walked none and allowed a home run.