Longoria hits 2-run HR, Rays rout Blue Jays 9-4
At the end of a tough road trip, Evan Longoria gave the Tampa
Bay Rays something to build on.
Longoria hit a two-run homer and came within a triple of the
cycle, Desmond Jennings added a solo shot and the Tampa Bay Rays
ended a 10-game road trip by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4
”Like I’ll always say, it’s about winning,” Longoria said.
”We’ve got some good momentum going home.”
Longoria went 3 for 4 with a season-high four RBIs and reached
base four times as the Rays tagged Blue Jays right-hander Henderson
Alvarez for a career-high six earned runs. Longoria singled home a
run in the first, homered in the fifth, drew an intentional walk in
the seventh and hit an RBI double in the ninth.
”Today was an outstanding game, one of those career days,”
Carlos Pena said of Longoria. ”It was an awesome game for
Longoria’s homer, a drive to deep center, was his first since
Tampa Bay’s April 6 opener.
”It’s a relief to finally hit another one,” he said. ”They
feel good when you get a chance to round the bases.”
Jeremy Hellickson won for the Rays, who have won nine of their
past 12 games against the Blue Jays and 10 of 15 at Rogers Centre.
Hellickson (2-0) gave up three runs, two earned, in 5 2-3 innings.
He walked three and struck out four.
”Overall not bad but still not as sharp as he can be,” manager
Joe Maddon said.
The Rays went 4-6 on a three-city trip to Detroit, Boston and
Toronto that began with seven straight day games. At one stretch,
the Rays played six straight games with six different start times,
including an 11:05 a.m. start at Fenway Park last Monday. It
matches the longest trip of the season for Tampa Bay, who have a
10-game trip to Minnesota, Seattle and Los Angeles in
”That was very challenging,” Pena said. ”We had a couple of
opening days, a bunch of day games. It was a challenge to get your
rest, get your preparation routine in line. We held our own and we
get back home with positive momentum on our side and something to
The Rays lost five of the first six games on the trip but closed
it by winning three of four.
”It’s been a difficult schedule,” Maddon said. ”I’m really
proud of the way our guys have fought through it.”
Hellickson left after Yunel Escobar drew a two-out walk in the
sixth. Kelly Johnson singled off Jake McGee and Burke Badenhop
walked Jose Bautista to load the bases for Adam Lind, but J.P.
Howell escaped the jam by getting Lind to line out to first.
Howell worked 1 1-3 innings, Joel Peralta pitched one inning and
Fernando Rodney finished, giving up Brett Lawrie’s RBI grounder in
Trailing after Longoria’s RBI single in the first, the Blue Jays
tied it in the bottom half on Lind’s two-out double.
The Rays reclaimed the lead with two in the second. Matt Joyce
scored on Sean Rodriguez’s single to right when Bautista’s throw
skipped past catcher J.P. Arencibia and struck Alvarez, who was
backing up, on the left collarbone. Alvarez went down and was
treated briefly on the field but stayed in the game.
”It short hopped me and the hardest ball to catch in baseball
is a short hop,” Arencibia said. ”Not only did it short hop me,
it short hopped me and hopped up.”
Rodriguez took third on Bautista’s throwing error on scored on a
base hit by Jennings.
Alvarez (0-1) allowed six hits in 6 1-3 innings, walked two and
struck out four.
Toronto tied it at 3 in the fourth. Arencibia hit an RBI double
and Escobar followed with a grounder to short, with Arencibia
scoring on Rodriguez’s throwing error.
The Rays took the lead for good with a three-run, two-homer
fifth. Jennings hit a one-out drive to left, his first and, after
Zobrist walked, Longoria made it 6-3 with a shot off the facing of
the center field restaurant, his second.
Longoria doubled home a run off Jason Frasor in the ninth and
Luke Scott capped it with a two-run double.
NOTES: Tampa Bay moved C Robinson Chirinos (concussion) to the
60-day DL and claimed 1B/OF Brandon Allen on waivers from Oakland.
Allen is expected to join the Rays Friday when they return to
Florida. The Rays are also expected to activate OF B.J. Upton (sore
back) off the DL Friday, meaning they will make two roster moves
before hosting Minnesota. … Toronto optioned LH Evan Crawford to
Double-A New Hampshire after the game and purchased the contract of
RH Drew Hutchison from Double-A. Hutchison will make his ML debut
at Kansas City on Saturday. To make room for Hutchison on the
40-man roster, RH Jesse Litsch was moved to the 60-day DL. …
Commissioner Bud Selig said the Rays need a new stadium to remain
competitive. ”They need a new ballpark, there’s no question,”
Selig said Thursday in an interview with the Associated Press
Sports Editors. … Alvarez has never walked more than two batters
in any of his 13 ML starts.