Blue Jays set MLB mark with six Dominicans in lineup
Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion, Francisco, Sierra all start Sunday vs. Red Sox
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made history on Sunday afternoon by becoming the first Major League team to have six players from the Dominican Republic in their starting lineup.
Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Juan Francisco and Moises Sierra all got the start in Sunday's 7-6 victory over the Red Sox. Right-hander Esmil Rogers also eventually got into the game as a reliever.
The seven players got together after the game and took pictures of the official lineup card. Bautista added that he might send the lineup card to the Dominican Baseball Hall of Fame.
"It might get me a job in winter ball this winter," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons joked after the game. "I'll be in the next [World Baseball Classic]."
Cabrera, Bautista and Encarnacion all played key roles in the win over Boston. Cabrera went 2-for-4 with an RBI and tied the club record for most hits in April with 39, previously done by Shea Hillenbrand (2005) and Shannon Stewart (2001). Cabrera has two games remaining to break the record and he's become the first player in franchise history to have at least one hit in at last 24 of the club's first 25 games.
Bautista added an RBI single in the eighth inning and has reached base in all of the Blue Jays' 25 games. Encarnacion helped break the game open in the eighth with a two-run double off Burke Badenhop.
Encarnacion got off to a slow start, but has been showing signs that he's on the verge of breaking out. He's had a number of hard-hit balls over the past week and has at least one hit in five of his past six games.
"That's a good sign because he's using the middle of the field," Gibbons said. "He can do some damage out there too. ... Today I thought he was really using his hands well. But it's in there, it's no secret. He's like anybody else, confidence can waver a little bit. I don't care how good you are, how long you've been around or how productive you've been over the last few years. This game is all confidence."