Encarnacion reaches rare air with 40th homer

Encarnacion reaches rare air with 40th homer

ANAHEIM -- Another day, another milestone for Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

Encarnacion became just the third player in franchise history with multiple seasons of 40 or more home runs when he hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning that helped secure the Blue Jays' 5-0 victory over the Angels on Friday night.

Jose Bautista and Carlos Delgado are the only other players with multiple seasons of 40 homers or more. Bautista (2010, '11 and '15) and Delgado (1999, 2000, '03) each did it three times.

"It's a nice number to reach," Encarnacion said through an interpreter after the game. "I'm really happy to be a part of that group and knowing that those two guys are big horses."

Encarnacion's 40th of the year was yet another no-doubter off the bat. According to Statcast™, the ball was projected to travel 440 feet and left his bat at 110 mph. Encarnacion has been responsible for almost half of Toronto's long-distance home runs this season.

Toronto has 11 homers this season that had a projected distance of 440 feet or more. Encarnacion's name can be found five times on this list, including the top overall spot with a projected 471-foot homer vs. the D-Backs on July 20.

Encarnacion's 40th home run

Encarnacion's 40 home runs are ranked third in the American League. He trails Baltimore's Mark Trumbo by two and Minnesota's Brian Dozier by one with 15 games remaining. The fact that Encarnacion's impressive season is taking place with free agency looming at the end of the year makes it even more impressive.

A lot of players tend to put too much pressure on themselves during a contract year and as a result their performance suffers. Not Encarnacion.

"That's why I didn't want to negotiate during the season because I just wanted to concentrate to help the team and make this team win and enjoy the season," said Encarnacion, who is batting .264 with 118 RBIs.

Toronto finds itself two games back of the Boston for first place in the American League East and tied with Baltimore for the top AL Wild Card spot. It's safe to say they're going to need even more from Encarnacion before the regular season comes to an end in less than three weeks.

"Eddie is Steady Eddie," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's had a tremendous career here, late bloomer and really, really put it together. Tremendous individual, just shows up and plays, no complaints, he just goes out and does his job. Hey, tip our hats to him."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com 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.