The Milwaukee Brewers hadn’t been swept all season, at least not until Wednesday.
Edwin Encarnacion clobbered a hanging slider from Brewers reliever Brandon Kintzler for a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning at the Rogers Centre to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-4 victory and a sweep of their two-game series.
The Brewers (51-35) have lost three straight, but still have the majors’ best road record at 27-17.
The Blue Jays started their winning rally when Jose Reyes hit a liner into left field. Elian Herrara, filling in for the injured Khris Davis, dove for the ball, but it clanged off his glove and rolled away into the left-center field gap for a double.
Reliever Will Smith (1-1) then intentionally walked Melky Cabrera before acting manager Jerry Narron defied conventional wisdom by bringing in the right-handed Kintzler to face lefty-swinging Anthony Gose.
The move worked. Gose attempted to bunt the runners up, but Kintzler pounced on the attempt and threw out Reyes, the lead runner, at third for the first out of the inning.
Kintzler then struck out Darin Mastroianni before Encarnacion came up.
After falling behind Encarnacion 3-1, Kintzler threw a slider that was supposed to be low and away.
It wasn’t and Encarnacion made Kintzler and the Brewers pay for hit, driving a laser shot into the second deck in left field to end the game. It is his 26th home run of the season and gave him the MLB lead in RBI with 69.
The Brewers lost despite getting an early 4-1 lead against Toronto starter J.A. Happ.
Toronto (47-39) got the run back in the bottom of the first when Jose Bautista hit a first-inning homer for the second straight day, victimizing Brewers starter Wily Peralta with his 17th homer of the year to left-center.
Ryan Braun followed with a long drive to center field that Colby Rasmus appeared to have a bead on, but lost as he neared the wall. Braun wound up with a two-run triple and Milwaukee had a 3-1 lead. Lucroy lofted a sacrifice fly to center to put the Brewers up 4-1.
Adam Lind made it a 4-2 game with an RBI double in the bottom of the third.
The Brewers then renewed acquaintances with an old friend in the bottom of the fourth.
Juan Francisco, who was released by the Brewers in March, turned around a first-pitch slider from Peralta for a long two-run homer to right field to tie the game 4-4.
Francisco has 13 home runs for the Blue Jays, who signed him on April 2.
Toronto had a chance to take the lead in the seventh after Cabrera led off with a double and Bautista walked.
Zach Duke came on to face Lind, and Toronto went with Mastroianni to pinch-hit. Mastroianni laid down a bunt that catcher Martin Maldonado fielded and threw to third for the first out. Aramis Ramirez then fired across the diamond for a double play.
Both managers wound up being ejected in the bottom of the eighth.
Milwaukee’s Ron Roenicke was the first to go, tossed by first base umpire Phil Cuzzi. Gibbons was later tossed when Steve Tolleson was called out on video review at second base on a steal attempt after he was initially ruled safe.
Casey Janssen (3-0) got the win for the Blue Jays, working the ninth inning.
The Brewers will be off Thursday before resuming their road trip in Cincinnati Friday at 6:05 p.m. Central. Kyle Lohse (9-2, 3.08 ERA) will go for his 10th win a second time, facing off against Reds right-hander Alfredo Simon (10-3, 2.81 ERA).