Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria homers again as Rays beat Orioles

BALTIMORE — The Rays are being equal opportunity spoilers.

After taking two of three from the playoff-contending Blue Jays last week in Toronto, the Rays on Saturday beat the Orioles for the second time in three nights, 5-2.

"It's nice to know we can compete at a high level," said 3B Evan Longoria, who played a big part as the Rays came back from an early 2-0 deficit.

He rapped their first hit off Orioles starter Chris Tillman with a triple to right one out into the fourth, then aggressively broke for home and scored on Brad Miller's grounder to first.

Longoria made it much simpler in the sixth, leading off with a blast to center that increased his career-high for homers in a season to 35, though he's still aiming for more based on his preseason target.

"I would love to keep going," he said. "It wasn't the number that I wrote down. We've got plenty of games left, and I'm seeing the ball pretty well right now, so I'm just trying to stay where I'm at mentally and physically and just keep going out there trying to win games."

Longoria also surpassed his career high in total bases, now with 310.

The Rays (64-84) took the lead after Longoria's homer on an RBI double by rookie Richie Shaffer, who came through with a big hit for the second straight night. They added two runs in the eighth on Mikie Mahtook's broken-bat bloop single to right.

RHP Matt Andriese, despite being hit by two batted balls, gave the Rays a second straight solid start, allowing the two runs over 51/3 innings. LHP Dana Eveland got a huge double-play ball from lefty Chris Davis to end the sixth. Then RHP Chase Whitley worked two more sharp innings in his second big-league outing back from Tommy John surgery. RHP Alex Colome finished for his 34th save.

"We did a lot of good things," manager Kevin Cash said.

HEY JAFF … : After spending the 10 days since the Triple-A season ended mostly on the couch in his Arizona home, getting called to rejoin the Rays and get back "into game mode" was a shock for OF Jaff Decker.

Getting to Camden Yards for Friday's game turned out to be a big hassle. He had one flight canceled and another delayed, then an uncooperative cab driver who wouldn't venture into the packed stadium lot.

"So there I am walking through the parking lot full of fans, carrying my Rays (equipment) bag, and they're yelling stuff at me like, 'Hey, aren't you a little late?' " Decker said. "I've had some crazy callups, and this one was pretty high up."

ABOUT FRIDAY NIGHT: The Rays lost 5-4 with the game ending on Mahtook being thrown out trying to score from first on Alexei Ramirez's hit. It was only the third time in their 3,062-game history that has happened, also on May 28, 2006, at Boston, with Joey Gathright gunned down, and Aug. 31, 2012, at Toronto, Elliot Johnson. … Ramirez's hit was scored a single but changed to a double.

UNDER INSTRUCTION: The Rays instructional league camp is under way in Port Charlotte, with a 47-man roster including 2015 first-round pick OF Garrett Whitley and 2016 top choice INF Josh Lowe. Also there are several prospects acquired in trades, including INF Lucius Fox (from Giants) and C Jonah Heim (Orioles). The Rays team, under manager Craig Albernaz, will play a 12-game schedule starting Monday. (see tampabay.com/blogs/rays for more.)

MISCELLANY: C Bobby Wilson will miss today's game due to a death in the family. … After losing three in New York, the Rays are 5-5 heading into today's road trip finale. … Longoria's homer was his eighth off Tillman. … The Rays have homered in a season-high 13 straight games.

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