Edwin Encarnacion is one swing away from franchise history. He hit his 14th home run of May on Tuesday night, tying him with teammate Jose Bautista, who smacked 14 in June 2012, for the most homers by a Blue Jay in a single month.
As Toronto looks to extend its eight-game winning streak, Encarnacion has four more games to break his tie with Bautista. The first man he will face in that quest is Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer, who will oppose Blue Jays hurler Liam Hendriks on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
Despite holding Encarnacion hitless and giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings against Toronto on April 3, Archer is not taking anything for granted. The hurler is 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in four career starts against the Blue Jays.
"No matter who I'm facing, I don't think about past success," Archer said. "I remember how I got them out, but I don't get over excited because I've done well against a guy in the past. Because you know, it's a game of inches and every game is different. I just focus on the same thing every game: pitch execution."
Encarnacion is indeed enjoying a special month, but he is far from the only Blue Jay sending balls flying over the outfield wall. Toronto leads the Majors with 76 home runs, including a three-homer effort in a second straight game in Tuesday's 9-6 victory against Tampa Bay.
But Archer presents a significant challenge, as he has allowed only three home runs in 57 innings over 10 starts this year. Still, he recognizes just how potent the Blue Jays' offense has been in 2014.
"These are world-class hitters with world-class hand-eye coordination," Archer said. "They recognize a pitch that's three inches off immediately."
However, if Hendriks pitches the way he did during his Toronto debut on May 23, then his club could afford a night with fewer offensive fireworks.
Hendriks limited the AL West-leading A's to only one run on three hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings on Friday, a tremendous step forward for Hendriks, who was 2-13 with a 6.06 ERA in 30 games (28 starts) for the Twins over the past three season.
"It's a huge thing for me," said Hendriks, who was selected off waivers by three clubs between December and February. "I was given an opportunity in Minnesota and I didn't capitalize on it. Now I have a different mindset of coming into the season, getting ready, getting aggressive and getting after guys early. I think it's paid dividends so far, and hopefully I can continue this trend and stay up here all year."
Rays: Cobb breaks franchise record in defeat
• Alex Cobb's streak of consecutive scoreless innings was halted at 24 2/3 on Tuesday night, setting a new franchise record. Cobb broke the previous mark of 23 straight shutout innings, set by James Shields in 2011.
• Evan Longoria was second in All-Star voting among American League third basemen when Major League Baseball released the first ballot update on Tuesday. He trailed Oakland's Josh Donaldson by 56,643 votes.
In-stadium voting concludes June 26. Fans can vote on MLB.com, the 30 team websites and their mobile devices until July 3.
Blue Jays: Series-ly good
Tuesday's 9-6 victory against Tampa Bay resulted in Toronto's fifth consecutive series victory, which is the first time the Blue Jays have accomplished that feat since taking five straight series from Sept. 17-Oct. 3, 2010. A win Wednesday would give the Blue Jays their third straight series sweep.
The series wins have helped Toronto climb to nine games above .500 for the first time since it owned a 33-24 record on June 5, 2010. The Blue Jays ended that season at 85-77.
• Toronto has the best home record in the American League at 15-11.
• The Rays have recorded four consecutive games with double-digit hits after notching 12 in Tuesday's loss.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.