The belt was Encarnacion's 13th of the season, which leads the team and is tied for second in the AL, as he went 3-for-4 in the game with a pair of singles and three RBI. He also is second in RBI with 34. Texas Ranger, Josh Hamilton, leads both power categories.
Toronto's win helped tighten up the contentious AL East, as both Tampa Bay and Baltimore won, expanding to a 3 1/2 game lead over the Yanks with the Blue Jays another 1/2 game back.
All four teams are above .500, the only AL division with such a stat. Boston is 6 1/2 games out with an 18-20 record. The Yankees will try to get even Thursday night. Game time is 7:05 pm EDT.
Washington has accomplished the majority of their 23 wins (14 losses) because of their superior pitching, though, on a team in which more than half of their position players are batting under .250, first baseman Adam Laroche has been carrying the most productive bat, and Wednesday's win was no exception.
LaRoche singles, doubled and homered in four at-bats, driving in four runs, the key hit coming in the bottom of the seventh inning, when he cleared a bases-loaded situation with a double that broke open the game after the Pirates had scored two runs in the top of the frame to trail 4-3.
LaRoche leads the team in the three important categories, with a .339 batting average, seven home runs and 29 RBI.
The Nationals will try to maintain their slender lead when they complete their two-game series with the Pirates Thursday night before the weekend's interleague games.