May 29,2014 (ISN) – TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion‘s incredible run of success at the plate has put his name not only into the Blue Jays’ record books but also in the conversation with some of the game’s all-time great performances in May.
Encarnacion had yet another multihomer game on Thursday night — hitting a pair of two-run shots off of Royals starter James Shields at Rogers Centre. It was the fifth time he’s done that since May 8 and his 16 for the month gave him a franchise record.
The 31-year-old Encarnacion also moved into a tie with Yankees Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle for the most home runs hit in May in American League history. He’s one short of the Major League record for the month, which was set by the Giants’ Barry Bonds in 2001.
Encarnacion entered Thursday’s game against the Royals tied for the franchise mark for any month with Jose Bautista, who hit 14 in June 2012. Encarnacion blew by that on Thursday and is easily on the hottest streak of his 10-year career in the big leagues.
The list of records that Encarnacion has either tied or is rapidly approaching seems almost endless. The Major League record for most home runs in a single month is 20, which was set by the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa in June 1998. The American League record was set by Tigers first baseman Rudy York, who hit 18 in August 1937.
The five multi-homer games are tied for the most in Major League history. Albert Belle had the same number for the Indians in September 1995, and Harmon Killebrew also had that total in May 1959 with the Washington Senators. Even before Thursday night’s game, Encarnacion had become the first player to hit at least 14 homers in May after having no more than two in April.
The Dominican native didn’t hit his first home run until April 22 but now has 18. He has been the Blue Jays’ Most Valuable Player for the past several weeks and is a lock to become a unanimous selection for the club’s Player of the Month, which is selected by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
In addition to the home runs, Encarnacion also surpassed George Bell for the most RBIs by a Blue Jays player in May with 33. That total leads the Major Leagues this month, as do his 22 extra-base hits.
Encarnacion entered Thursday night hitting .333 (17-for-51) with two doubles, 10 homers and 17 RBIs over his previous 13 games. He had four multihomer games over the same period from May 8-21 to become the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to accomplish the feat.