BOSTON — After seeing a mention a couple of weeks ago that he was one homer short of hitting 20 for the seventh time in his first eight seasons, 3B Evan Longoria did the worst thing he could — try to reach the milestone.
"It's bad news when you try and do that,'' he said. "You go up there and swing for the fences, it never works.''
So facing a tough foe in Boston's Wade Miley on Thursday, Longoria tried instead to do less, "just to put the ball in play and make hard contact.'' And, as a result, he hit that elusive 20th homer in the Rays' 4-2 win.
Longoria joined Eddie Mathews, Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen as the only third basemen with at least seven 20-homer seasons in their first eight.
"It's pretty cool,'' he said. "The names are awesome, it's just an honor to be included in that group.''
Longoria's homer with two outs in the sixth led the Rays back from a 2-0 deficit. A Logan Forsythe single and doubles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Steven Souza Jr. made it 3-2; Kevin Kiermaier added a homer in the seventh, his second ever off a lefty .
After allowing a two-run homer in the first to David Ortiz (502nd overall, 49th vs. Tampa Bay), Rays RHP Erasmo Ramirez didn't give up much else, working seven innings for a career-first third straight time. "To go deep in the game, that's the goal of every starter,'' Ramirez said. "And to do it with two or less runs, that's something you're going to be super happy about.''
RHP Alex Colome, coming off two shaky outings, worked a crisp eighth and RHP Brad Boxberger finished for his 38th save, his 11th scoreless outing versus the Sox this season.
The Rays improved to 75-78, two wins shy of last year's total.
T-TOWN: A couple of former Blue Jays among the Rays are looking forward to experiencing the frenzied atmosphere and sold-out games in Toronto this weekend, and the potential to be spoilers for the potential clinching of a playoff berth for the first time since 1993.
"We've heard since they acquired David Price and Troy Tulowitzki and some of their deadline moves that that place has just erupted," said manager Kevin Cash, who came up with the Jays and played in Toronto 2002–04.
"You always heard the stories as a player coming up in '92 and '93 how it was just an incredible place to play, so it should be great for us to get in there and play against them and especially good for a lot of these young guys to see that type of atmosphere."
C J.P. Arencibia said there would be excitement for opening days and the beginnings of his 2010–13 seasons in Toronto, but it would always wane.
"That city has been wanting a winner in all sports," he said. "I think with the team going the way they've been going, it's going to be fun. And hopefully we can play the bad boy part of that."
MORE MOORE: LHP Matt Moore said he had "no problem" with his next start being bumped from Sunday in Toronto until Tuesday at home against the Marlins, since he could still pitch again in the Oct. 4 season finale against the Jays. "I still have time to get two more starts, and I think that's what I'm most excited about, I could care less who they're against," he said.
Moore, whose past two outings have been his best since his return from Tommy John surgery, said he is working under roughly a 110-inning limit. Between rehab, minor-league and big-league games he has thrown 101⅓.
NO TV: Fans in the Tampa Bay market can't watch Saturday's Chris Archer-David Price matchup as Sun Sports did not include the game in the package of 150 it airs. But they can watch former manager Joe Maddon, as Fox is showing his Cubs against the Pirates.
MISCELLANY: The Rays won the season series from Boston 10-9. … LHP Jake McGee (left knee surgery) will be available out of the bullpen starting tonight. … LHP Jake Odorizzi flew ahead to Toronto with the team slated for a 3 a.m. arrival.