Encarnacion Smashes Winning Homer as Blue Jays Claw Orioles

Edwin Encarnacion
The Associated Press

Toronto (Canada) (AFP) – Edwin Encarnacion smashed the winning home run as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 in an 11th-inning thriller to win their American League wildcard duel on Tuesday.

Dominican star Encarnacion homered to left field off Ubaldo Jimenez for a three-run score to send Toronto into an American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers.

It was a dramatic end to a nerve-jangling game which erupted into controversy in the seventh inning when a fan threw a can onto the field as Baltimore outfielder Kim Hyun-Soo caught the final out.

The incident drew a furious response from Baltimore’s players, with center fielder Adam Jones angrily gesticulating into the stands.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter also stormed out of the dugout to left field to voice his disgust with the umpiring crew before returning.

As the tension mounted, the final innings became a question of who would blink first.

Baltimore left-hander Brian Duensing struck out Ezequiel Carrera to launch the bottom of the 11th before being replaced by Jimenez.

It was to be a nightmare performance for Jimenez however, who conceded singles to Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson to leave the Blue Jays with runners on the corners.

With the home crowd roaring them on, Encarnacion then settled a pulsating battle with his three-run homer to keep the Blue Jays’ post-season alive.

Earlier, Orioles starter Chris Tillman gave up four hits, one walk and two runs while striking out four in just over four innings.

Marcus Stroman for the Blue Jays allowed four hits and two runs with six strikeouts in six innings.

Jose Bautista had hit a solo home run for Toronto while Baltimore’s scoring came from a two-run homer by Mark Trumbo.

The Blue Jays face Texas in game one of the division series on Thursday.