ST. PETERSBURG — 1B Carlos Peña acknowledged he knew exactly what was going on Sunday.
Peña entered having homered in six straight games. And with each of Peña's at-bats against the Marlins, there was considerable buzz among fans at Tropicana Field.
But the streak ended with Peña going 0-for-4 on two groundouts, a strikeout and flyout to medium-depth rightfield in the fourth. Peña said chasing a record didn't impact his approach at the plate.
"There's nothing I can do about that except try to do the best I can and have some good at-bats," Peña said. "Stuff like that happens. I never really tried to do it, so why try now?"
Peña is still in elite company with his six-game streak.
The major-league record is eight shared by the Pirates' Dale Long (1956), Yankees' Don Mattingly (1987) and Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).
Research by David Vincent of the Society For American Baseball Research found just two others have homered in seven straight: the Indians' Jim Thome (2002) and Giants' Barry Bonds (2004). And only 15 others had six-game streaks.
"I was very happy just to be mentioned among those players," said Peña, who surpassed the Rays record of five set by Jose Canseco in 1999. "Mattingly, Griffey, and I'm right there. So it's kind of cool. I won't deny that.
"But it's one of those things that you can't really control. So I'm just happy, grateful I had the opportunity to experience that."
ON A ROLL: INF Sean Rodriguez extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the third. Rodriguez, who went 3-for-3, is hitting .429 (21-for-49) during the streak. Other than mechanical adjustments, Rodriguez said playing every day has been a factor in his success.
NEED FOR SPEED: Third-base coach Tom Foley said LF Carl Crawford decided on his own to score from third on a fly ball caught by 2B Dan Uggla in shallow right-center in the fourth.
Foley said Crawford noticed how Uggla's momentum was going backward on the catch, which would make the throw difficult.
"With the speed with him, you can take a lot of chances," Foley said.
MEDICAL MATTERS: C Dioner Navarro played catch for the first time since his neck stiffened up Thursday. Navarro said he's feeling better every day, and manager Joe Maddon said they hope, with Monday's off day, he will be in good shape Tuesday in Atlanta.
Navarro said he sustained the injury when he was dropping his wife and son off at the airport Thursday morning.
"When I got out of the elevator, I looked to the right, and when I looked to the left, my neck popped," Navarro said. "It's one of those freak things."
STEPPING IN: OF Justin Ruggiano, called up Saturday when OF Gabe Kapler was put on the disabled list, was excited to be in the big leagues for the first time since the end of the 2008 season.
"I'm just ready to get in there and see if I can help," he said.
Ruggiano played well in Durham, hitting .291 with 19 RBIs in 44 games, and bounced back after a left biceps injury that put him out for a couple of weeks. He said the key was having a better mind-set after getting sent down at the end of a strong spring training.
"I wanted to go in there and keep a good attitude," Ruggiano said. "And I felt like I did that."
MINOR MATTERS: Double-A Montgomery RHP Jeremy Hall's scoreless streak ended at 35 innings, a club-record.
MISCELLANY: Crawford grounded into his first double play of the season in the first. He had gone 239 at-bats to start the season without doing so, which was tied for the lead in the American League with Rangers OF Josh Hamilton. … 3B Evan Longoria reached base for the 31st consecutive game, the longest active streak in the majors.
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]