With Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison powering the way, the Tampa Bay Rays have quickly changed their fortunes.
The Rays won't get the benefit of facing one of baseball's lowliest teams as they seek a season high-tying fourth straight victory Monday night and will instead visit the Arizona Diamondbacks to open the final series of a 10-game trip.
Longoria hit his fourth and fifth home runs in the past four games in a 7-5 victory against Minnesota on Sunday, Tampa Bay's third in a row following a 2-11 stretch. Morrison also had a pair of longballs, giving him four in his past three games and a .423 average in his last 20.
Longoria is batting .457 with six homers and 14 RBIs in his past nine contests.
“Both those guys, gosh, they're on fire,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Just shows when you get two really good hitters on fire, they can carry a big load for you offensively and they're doing that.”
Longoria and Morrison will try to help Tampa Bay register its third four-game win streak this season and aid Chris Archer's attempt to snap a personal three-game slide. The right-hander has a 5.82 ERA during the losing streak after giving up five runs over six innings Wednesday in a 6-3 loss in Kansas City.
Archer (3-7, 4.75 ERA) was the last Rays starter to face Arizona, getting a no-decision in a 9-8 loss Aug. 7, 2013. Tampa Bay has lost four straight at Chase Field after winning its first four there, and the Rays (25-30) have lost seven of nine overall in the series.
This time, they'll face a team that's lost nine of 13, but the Diamondbacks (25-34) snapped Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta's string of 20 consecutive winning decisions with a 3-2 victory Sunday.
Yasmany Tomas had a two-run double off the right-hander and Paul Goldschmidt hit a key single in the fifth inning, his first RBI in six games.
“(Beating Arrieta) is something no one has done for a while now,” manager Chip Hale said. ” I'm very proud of the guys. They battled. I told them they have the guts of a burglar.”
The Diamondbacks will try to provide Robbie Ray (2-4, 4.74) with some better support in his attempt to win for the first time in four starts. The left-hander has received one run over his last three outings and gave up three runs in five innings Wednesday in a 5-4 defeat in 11 innings at Houston.
Ray will face Tampa Bay for the first time. Morrison is the only Rays player to have gotten a hit off him, going 2 for 6.
Goldschmidt singled in his lone at-bat against Archer. The only other two Diamondbacks to have faced him, Michael Bourn and Chris Herrmann, are a combined 2 for 14 with five strikeouts.