The veteran slugger went deep off Ervin Santana in the sixth, plating Josh Donaldson with a 422-foot shot to start the Blue Jays' comeback from a 5-1 deficit. He subsequently closed the gap to 7-6 in the seventh with an infield single that drove in Jose Bautista. With 105 RBI on the season, Encarnacion has a chance to blow past the career-high 111 he tallied in 2015.
After having gone 0-for-8 over his previous two games, the young slugger broke out with his third multi-hit effort since Aug. 19. Dickerson now has 10 extra-base hits (eight doubles, two homers) in each of the last two months and is slashing .232/.283/.450 with 26 doubles, three triples, 17 homers and 49 RBI over 380 at-bats in 2016.
The veteran slugger was one of the few to break through against Justin Verlander, who was mostly in vintage form Friday. Pujols took the former Cy Young winner deep in the first with a 388-foot solo shot, his third round-tripper in the last six games. With another prolific tally in August, Pujols now has over half (51) of his 101 RBI total for 2016 since July 2.
Ortiz didn't start Thursday, but is back in his usual DH spot for Friday's outing. Ortiz has dominated at the plate recently, having gone .440/.481/.880 with three home runs and seven RBI over the last seven days.
Gurriel will hit sixth and serve as Houston's DH on Friday night. Since joining the big club, Gurriel has played in three games and gone 1-for-4 with a walk. He'll go up against Drew Smyly and the Rays on Friday night.
As of now, Butler is on track to come off the DL on Monday, the earliest possible date. Butler has dramatically increased his production since the All-Star break, as he's hit .367/.415/.517 since, bringing his line up to .286/.338/.419 for the year.
Thursday's effort raised Martinez's career batting average at Target Field to .370 in 46 games. He's 16 for 26 (.615) there this year and has scored seven runs in six games. Martinez finished the three-game series with seven hits, including a home run, four RBI and five runs. The veteran will make one more visit to Minnesota for another three-game set beginning Sep. 20.
Cruz was lifted early from Wednesday's contest after experiencing back spasms, but the issue was apparently minor enough that he'll return to the lineup without missing any time. The 36-year-old will DH and bat cleanup against Chicago starter Anthony Ranaudo.
Morales will be held out of the lineup for a third straight game, as the Royals wrap up a series in a National League park in Miami. The club will head to Boston for the weekend and regain the DH spot, so Morales figures to return to the lineup then, while serving as a pinch-hitting option Thursday.
Alvarez was held out of Wednesday's contest as well, as the Orioles are without the DH spot playing in an NL ballpark, but he worked his way into the game as a pinch hitter. The 29-year-old will likely be available in a similar capacity again Thursday and should return to the lineup Friday when the team resumes AL play.