ST. PETERSBURG — So a guy walked into the Trop on Saturday and found himself having the most unexpected conversation:
Who among the suddenly potent Rays hitters had the biggest night in the 16-1 win over the Yankees?
Was it Wil Myers, who looked like he got his groove back in hitting his first two homers of the season, one solid and the other long and loud?
Or was it Ryan Hanigan, who, similarly on track after an 0 for 18 skid, also hit two homers during a six-RBI night, the first Rays catcher to do so since 2010 and the third Ray overall?
Or was it Evan Longoria, who hit only one homer on a four-RBI night but made history by surpassing Carlos Peña as the franchise's all-time home run leader?
For a team that could barely hit and had scored just 16 runs over its previous 10 games, the Rays have had a run on runs, posting 27 over the past two nights.
"We've been swinging the bats well the whole season without any luck," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're finally missing (defenders with hits), and we're getting pitches, and we're not missing them. … It was really fun to watch."
And overshadowed by all the offense, Chris Archer bounced back to give the Rays a strong start, allowing just a run on three hits over 62/3 innings, improving his career dominance of the Yankees to 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA.
The five homers matched the most the Rays have hit in a home game, though they hadn't done so since 2008. They piled on to the point that the Yankees had shortstop Dean Anna pitch the eighth, with his first two pitches clocked at 66 and 60 mph.
"It's one of those games you hope kind of propels you going forward," Longoria said.
Myers left Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon immersed in what he said was the worst start of his six-year pro career. He looked better while going 0-for-2 with two walks Thursday against the Yankees, then improved on it by going 3-for-5 Friday with three RBIs (his first since April 4) and crushing the two home runs Saturday, the second a three-run shot.
Hanigan had gone 11 days without a hit before doubling in his last at-bat Friday, then came out swinging Saturday with a leadoff homer in the third and a two-run shot in the fourth. The only other Rays catchers to homer twice in a game were Kelly Shoppach, in 2010 and, before that, John Flaherty.
Longoria had gone 49 at-bats over 14 games since tying Peña for the franchise homer lead, then took over the top spot with a two-run shot in the third that hit off the C-ring catwalk, the 164th of his career.
The Rays started fast before another good Trop crowd of 30,159. Myers homered for the first time with one out in the second. They added three runs in the third, as Hanigan led off with a homer and Longoria delivered his historic shot. Hanigan hit a two-run homer in the fourth. Then after a Longoria sac fly made it 7-1, Myers absolutely laced a Matt Daley pitch for a three-run homer.