Sanchez, Encarnacion lift Jays past D-backs

Sanchez, Encarnacion lift Jays past D-backs

PHOENIX -- Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez continued his winning ways Tuesday night at Chase Field.

The All-Star right-hander allowed just one run over seven innings and the Blue Jays got a three-run homer from Edwin Encarnacion as they beat the D-backs, 5-1. Sanchez (10-1, 2.87 ERA) has won his last nine decisions.

"Command of the fastball is the biggest thing," said Sanchez, who allowed two runs or less for the sixth consecutive outing. "Obviously my fastball is pretty good, but it doesn't mean anything if you can't command it. Tonight, I felt like I did a good job of commanding my heater and everything kind of worked off that."

The D-backs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Sanchez settled in after that while the Blue Jays' offense got cranking. Arizona starter Zack Godley (2-1) retired the first two batters of the third, but Toronto managed a pair of two-out singles before Encarnacion's homer on a hanging breaking ball.

Godley's up-and-down season continues

"He elevated those curveballs, and to this team, you can't do that," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We talked about keeping them in the ballpark and giving yourself a chance to win a game. It's not going to happen when you elevate the breaking ball. Just too many high breaking balls."

The Ed-Wing: Encarnacion seems to feel right at home whenever he plays at Chase Field. His three-run homer was his ninth home run in 16 career games at the stadium. According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's 25th home run of the season was projected to land 428 feet away and left his bat at 106 mph. The veteran slugger has 84 RBIs this year, which is tops in all of baseball. Since June 10, Encarnacion has 13 home runs and 37 RBIs in 31 games.

Encarnacion's 25th home run

"I see the ball really well here and I feel confident in this ballpark, so it works out," Encarnacion said through an interpreter after the game. "Maybe it's the hitter's eye, it's really big, the green wall. Maybe it's that, I don't know." More >

Good start then nothing: D-backs second baseman Jean Segura hit a leadoff single in the first, stole second and came around to score on a pair of groundouts. After that, the D-backs were unable to capitalize on their scoring chances. After putting the first two runners on in the third, Sanchez retired Michael Bourn, Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb in order to retire the side.

Goldschmidt's RBI groundout

"When we had second and third, you'd like to get a run or two there," Hale said. "We talk about mano a mano and Sanchez got the better of us."

Donaldson adds on: Toronto carried a 3-1 lead into the fifth inning when Devon Travis hit a one-out single to center. Travis then advanced to third base when Godley was charged with a throwing error on an attempted pickoff attempt. That's when Josh Donaldson came through with the insurance run with an RBI single to left field. Donaldson has recorded at least one hit in 30 of his last 35 games with 37 RBIs over that same span.

Donaldson's RBI single

Unearned: A pair of errant pickoff throws to first base -- one by Godley in the fifth and another by Dominic Leone in the ninth -- led to two unearned runs.

"They're not getting that foot down before they release the ball, just pulling it," Hale said. "It's just unacceptable at this point in the year. That's part of your game you have to be able to execute."

"If and when it happens, we're not going to be real popular -- out there [in the world] and in that room out there probably. But it hasn't happened yet. Somebody's got to wear it if it does, though. I know who that will be." -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, on the club's previously stated stance that Sanchez at some point will be moved to the bullpen because of an innings limit

Sanchez escapes a jam

Donaldson extended his on-base streak to 23 games, which is tied for the longest active stretch in the Major Leagues with Washington's Jayson Werth.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (7-4, 5.15 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays wrap up their mini two-game series against the D-Backs on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. ET, and that's when Stroman will look to bounce back from a disappointing start against the A's. In his first outing after the All-Star break, Stroman surrendered seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.

D-backs: Patrick Corbin takes the mound in Wednesday afternoon's series finale with the Blue Jays, which starts at 12:40 p.m. MST. The left-hander faced the Jays on June 21 and picked up the win allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.