Encaracion hit two home runs in his first game back from the disabled list, but Boston rocked Carlos Carrasco on the way to a 10-4 victory at Fenway Park. The Indians lead the four-game series between division leaders, 2-1.
The Indians placed Encarnacion on the DL on Aug. 12 with a bruised right hand and sore left biceps. They activated him Wednesday and he homered in the first and fifth innings.
Encarnacion's first-inning drive over The Green Monster gave Carrasco a 2-0 lead. He cleared The Monster again in the fifth to cut Boston's lead to 6-4 to give him 27 homers and 85 RBI for the season.
But the night and the game belonged to the Red Sox, whose 89 victories are the most in the big leagues. The victory ended Boston's longest losing streak of the season. The streak was only a three-gamer, which is an indication of what kind of season they're having.
Carrasco (15-7, 3.55) has never had much luck against Boston and that didn't change on Wednesday. The Red Sox took control in the fourth as they scored five runs and sent 11 batters to the plate to take a 6-2 lead.
Andrew Benintendi's three-run double to left field against an over-shifted defense was the big hit of the inning. When Mitch Moreland followed with a single, Carrasco was done for the night. He allowed six runs, five earned, in 3 2/3 innings.
Carrasco started the game as one of baseball's hottest pitchers. He was 8-1 with a 1.73 ERA in his last nine appearances. In those eight appearances, covering 52 innings, he allowed 10 earned runs. He allowed half that many Wednesday night.
In his career, Carrasco is 1-3 with a 7.47 ERA (26 earned runs in 31 1/3 innings) against the Red Sox.
The Red Sox, once the Indians made it 6-4, moved to higher ground in a hurry. Moreland hit a two-run homer off Dan Otero in the sixth for an 8-4 lead.
Xander Bogaerts opened the seventh with another homer off Otero for a 9-4 lead. It was his second homer of the night. He started the fourth-inning rally with a one-out homer off Carrasco.
J.D. Martinez made it 10-4 with a single off Cody Allen in the eighth. Center fielder Greg Allen ended the inning with a running catch of Bogaerts drive to deep center. Allen, however, took an 0-for-4 to end his 14-game hitting streak.
What it means
The Indians went into Wednesday night's game eyeing just one team in the AL West as a possible playoff opponent. They did so knowing that it's unlikely to stay that way for long.
Houston beat Seattle, 10-7, Wednesday afternoon to reclaim first place in the West by one game over Oakland. The A's, also playing an afternoon game, lost to Texas, 4-2.
The Indians are in line to play the AL West champion in the first round of the postseason in October. They went 3-4 against Houston and 2-4 against Oakland earlier this season.
AL MVP Jose Altuve just rejoined the Astros from the disabled list, but George Springer is still dealing with a quadriceps injury. Reports say he could return to the lineup on Friday.
The Astros are off Thursday, while the A's open a seven-game trip Thursday night with a four-game series against the Twins. The A's then travel to Houston for a three-game showdown. It will be the last regular-season series between the two teams.
Carrasco threw 81 pitches, 58 (72 percent) for strikes. Johnson threw 82 pitches, 51 (62 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Red Sox drew a sellout crowd of 37,107 to Fenway Park on Wednesday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a temperature of 83 degrees.
Rookie right-hander Adam Plutko (4-3, 4.62) will face the Red Sox and left-hander David Price (13-6, 3.69) on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR will carry the game.
Plutko, coming off 4-2 loss to the Orioles, will be facing the Red Sox for the first time. He has taken the place of injured Trevor Bauer in the rotation.
Price has a 1.35 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. He is 10-2 with a 2.24 ERA in 13 career starts against the Indians.