Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Longoria feels right on verge of breaking out

ST. PETERSBURG — His .242 batting average isn't what he would like, but Rays 3B Evan Longoria sees some light at the end of the tunnel.

Longoria hit his second home run in as many games Sunday. He added a ninth-inning single and was 2-for-4 against the Blue Jays.

"I'm hitting mistakes a little better," he said. "But I'd like them to come with runners in scoring position. It's all about timely hitting, and I haven't been doing a good job of that. Overall, we need to get better at that as a team."

Longoria started his day against RHP Marcus Stroman with two strikeouts before ending with two hits. At this time last year, Longoria had only one home run; he went on to hit 21 and finish with a .270 average.

He is tied with Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza Jr. for the team lead with five home runs this season. As the weather heats up, Longoria hopes he does, too.

"I don't feel like I'm fighting my swing this year," he said. "Last year it felt like a battle every day. It's just a feeling of being one or two at-bats away from getting it clicking."

MOORE WELCOMES THE REST: Thanks to two off days since his last outing, LHP Matt Moore will have six days' rest between last Wednesday's start against the Orioles and Tuesday's against the Dodgers.

Moore said the extra day between starts doesn't throw off his routine. In fact, he welcomes the extra time.

"I'll take the off days whenever you can get them," Moore said. "Even though it's only April or May, you still have that soreness. Maybe not like in August, but it's still there."

Today, Moore plans on going through his normal day-before-a-start routine at an empty Tropicana Field. But not before hitting the links.

"I'm probably going to play some golf in the morning and then worry about the (workout)," Moore said.

CONGER BREAKS A BAD STREAK: C Hank Conger snapped a streak of 48 successful stolen base attempts against him when he threw out Ezequiel Carrera to end the fifth. The streak stretched to May 29, 2015, when Conger was with the Astros. Not only was it his first caught stealing of the season, it was the first for Rays catchers after an 0-for-15 start.

"He's working on that every day, so it's great to see," RHP Jake Odorizzi said. "And that came in a big spot. It was an offspeed pitch, and he put a good throw on it."

QUOTABLE: "It wasn't a must-win game, but the way things have been going for us lately, it was a big win for us." — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, whose team had lost seven of 10 before Sunday

MISCELLANY: The Blue Jays had 15 hits in the three-game series, and eight were home runs. It's the first time in major-league history a team was held to 15 hits or fewer and hit eight homers in a three-game series. … The Rays host the Dodgers in a rare two-game series starting Tuesday. Tampa Bay is 3-6 overall against the Dodgers. The last win was June 24, 2007. It was RHP Edwin Jackson's first win with the Rays, improving him to 1-8. … The Rays honored the 75th anniversary of MacDill Air Force base in Tampa by having the U.S. Special Operations Headquarters Rappel Team rappel from the Tropicana Field catwalk to hand off the ball for the ceremonial first pitch.

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