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Encarnacion doubles his way out of hitting funk

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DETROIT -- Edwin Encarnacion snapped an 0-for-19 streak with a pair of doubles in the Blue Jays' 8-6 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon.

Encarnacion entered the game with just two hits on the season as the Blue Jays' cleanup hitter, but he doubled that total versus Detroit.

The first double occurred in the fourth inning, but it was the double in the sixth that scored one and helped spark a three-run rally to get Toronto back into the game.

"I knew I had to just keep my head up, I knew things were going to change, it's not going to be like the beginning all year long," Encarnacion said. "I felt a lot better, more confident, especially when you get a hit, that's what you need, a blooper, something, then your mind changes."

The early-season struggles might have been a cause for concern, but the fact remains the Blue Jays are still only a week into their 162-game schedule. There's more than enough time to turn things around in April, but that's a month in which Encarnacion has experienced a lot of difficulty in the past.

Encarnacion did manage to hit .322 last April, but for his career he is just a .246 hitter with a .767 OPS during the month. The numbers haven't been any better in May as evidenced by a .230 average and .720 OPS, but from there things drastically turn around.

The Dominican native said he expects things to improve a lot faster than that this season, and Encarnacion insists the slow start doesn't have anything to do with a sprained right index finger which caused him issues during Spring Training.

The bigger culprit has been pitch selection, and that's something he improved upon versus the Tigers as he took a more patient approach to his at-bats.

"I feel great, my finger feels 100 percent ready to go," Encarnacion said. "Things have been working good, I just have to keep working hard, keep working on my routine, and I know things will change.

"I feel good. I just have to select my pitch. I've been swinging at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone, and that's how I've been making outs by myself, swinging at bad pitches. So, right now I'm going to try to focus on a pitch in the strike zone."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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