Third baseman Evan Longoria became the Tampa Bay Rays’ all-time home run leader by smacking his 164th in the third inning Saturday at Tropicana Field against New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova.
Longoria, who has two home runs this season, cracked a 400-foot, two-run homer off the C-ring catwalk in left field on a 78-mph curveball from Nova. The hit gave the Rays a 4-0 lead in an eventual 16-1 victory.
”I guess it was about time,” Longoria said. ”It took me quite a while to do it. But it came in a game that we needed to win. This was a good statement win for us, to be able to come out against Nova, who has given us trouble in the past, and put together an offensive performance like we did today. It’s one of those games where you hope it kind of propels you going forward. It was fun to be able to do it in today’s game.”
Longoria had gone 13 games since tying Pena’s mark in an April 3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. Pena was an infielder with the Devil Rays/Rays from 2007-2010 and 2012.
Rays manager Joe Maddon expects many more home runs to come Longoria’s way. He anticipates big things.
”My first thought was to thank Carlos for all the great work he did for us,” Maddon said. ”Longo’s going to keep adding to that. I would say at least double that. At least.”