And true to his word, there Encarnacion stood with a smile on his face after hitting a walk-off three-run homer against the Brewers to give the Blue Jays a two-game series sweep at Rogers Centre on Wednesday.
Encarnacion sent a 3-1 slider from Brandon Kintzler to the second deck in left field in the ninth as Toronto edged Milwaukee, 7-4, and wrapped up a nine-game homestand with a 5-4 record. The Blue Jays now embark on a 10-game West Coast road trip that will lead them into the All-Star break.
"For me, it's the best moment you have," Encarnacion said of the third walk-off homer of his career. "For any player, to have a walk-off home run ... everyone is happy on the team, and now we have a five-hour, happy flight to take [to Oakland]."
After Jose Reyes led off the ninth with a double to left field, Melky Cabrera was intentionally walked, putting two on with no out. Following a failed sac bunt attempt from Anthony Gose and a strikeout by Darin Mastroianni, Encarnacion came the plate to face Kintzler.
The Brewers reliever said he and catcher Martin Maldonado were trying to pitch around the Blue Jays slugger, hoping to get him chasing an outside pitch. And if they walked him, so be it.
"If anything, we were just trying not to give him anything on the plate. He's not the one you want to let beat you," Kintzler said. "We were trying to let him chase, and if he was going to chase, great. If not, we'll go to the next guy. At 3-1, either I should just bounce a sinker and walk him, or throw a slider away, off the plate. It definitely didn't go where I planned it."
The homer was Encarnacion's 150th with the Blue Jays, moving him past Lloyd Moseby for sole possession of seventh on the club's all-time list.
It was a big day for Encarnacion, who was making only his fourth career start in left field as Toronto manager John Gibbons scrambled to piece together a solid-hitting lineup with Jose Bautista manning the designated hitter's role for the second game in a row. Bautista hit his second solo homer in as many days in the first inning.
Left-handed-hitting Adam Lind, who had a rare day off against a righty on Tuesday, was back in the lineup at first base and hitting cleanup, meaning the Blue Jays' skipper had to find a place in the field for Encarnacion.
The 31-year-old Encarnacion said he was happy his foray into the outfield was an uneventful one.
"I don't want any ground balls or any fly balls, so that's good for the team," Encarnacion said. "I figured I'd just try to do whatever I can do to get the best lineup we can have on the field so we can win games."
The win gives the Blue Jays their fourth walk-off of the season, and the big-hitting club has now hit 19 homers in the past 13 games.
A 4-4 deadlock persisted from the fourth inning, when Juan Francisco swatted a game-tying two run shot to right field.
Toronto looked poised to break the game open in the seventh, when Cabrera led off the inning with a double before Bautista walked to drive Brewers starter Wily Peralta from the game. But with Zach Duke in to pitch, pinch-hitter Mastroianni laid down a bunt that was easily played by Milwaukee catcher Maldonado, and the Brewers went third to first to double up the Blue Jays.
It was one of two poorly executed bunts on the afternoon by Toronto, something that should not have happened, said Gibbons.
"You gotta get those down. if that's what your role is, you gotta get those down," he said.
While Casey Janssen earned the win on the mound, pitching a scoreless ninth for the Blue Jays, it was starter J.A. Happ who did most of the heavy lifting. He went seven innings, giving up six hits and four earned runs without a walk.
Happ allowed a run in the first and was knocked around for three in the third, but he settled in and allowed only one hit in his last four innings.