Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion hit back-to-back home runs in bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, propelling the Blue Jays to a 9-6 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. It was the eighth straight win for the Blue Jays, who are now 31-22 on the season with a growing first-place lead in the American League East standings.
And that fifth-inning homer by Encarnacion gave him 14 for the month of May — tying a franchise record held by Jose Bautista for most homers in a month.
MLB.com has the video of Encarnacion’s big blast.
The 31-year-old now has a .926 OPS with 16 homers and 42 RBI in 53 total games this season. He finished with 36 homers and 104 RBI in 2014.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: