NEW YORK — 3B Evan Longoria didn't get back the ball he hit for his 100th career homer Friday, as it landed in the Yankees bullpen and someone there apparently unknowingly flipped it into the crowd.
Longoria wasn't that disappointed, though, happy with his other souvenirs (bat, lineup card, game ball) and excited that he's finally feeling healthy enough to go deep again somewhat regularly with seven homers in his past 23 games, after hitting 11 in his first 67.
"I think it's been pretty noticeable over the last couple weeks that I've been feeling better physically," Longoria said.
The primary problem had been a nerve condition in his left foot known as a Morton's neuroma. But a change in treatment, going from heat to ice; and in footwear, with the new Nike Shock cleats he got at the All-Star break featuring a wider toe box, made such a difference that Longoria said Saturday that the foot was now "a nonissue."
Also, that offseason surgery, which seemed likely the way he was hobbled earlier in the season, may no longer be necessary.
Longoria also missed a month early in the season after straining his left oblique, though he and the team have maintained there were no lingering issues.
"It took a while for everything to get in synch and back to at least close to 100 percent," Longoria said.
GOMES NO GO: Rookie RHP Brandon Gomes had been pitching well, with a seven-game scoreless streak snapped Wednesday only because Jake McGee allowed a home run.
But Gomes didn't have it Saturday, coming in with a man on in the fifth and trailing 3-0, walking Nick Swisher (on six pitches) and Eric Chavez (on four) then giving up a grand slam to Jorge Posada. He fell behind all three 2-and-0.
"Gomes has been pitching very well for us, and I liked him on even a couple of those lefties, Swisher and Chavez," manager Joe Maddon said. "That's where it kinda got away. Those two walks hurt us a lot."
Said Gomes: "You just need to attack the zone better than I did. I think maybe I was trying to be too fine instead of just going right after guys. I had poor command of pretty much all of my pitches, but you've got to figure out a way to get out of that and throw strikes, but I didn't do that today."
MORE ON MOORE: Maddon admitted that his curiosity is growing about their top prospect, LHP Matt Moore, who had another dazzling outing for Triple-A Durham on Friday, striking out 10 in six innings with two hits (one a pop fly lost in the lights) and two walks.
In five starts since his promotion from Double-A Montgomery, Moore, 22, is 3-0, 0.88. Overall, he is 11-3, 1.89 with 180 strikeouts and 35 walks in 133 innings. "If you look at his line for the year, it's pretty ridiculous," Maddon said. "Very impressive."
ABOUT FRIDAY NIGHT: With their five solo home runs off CC Sabathia, the Rays became the first team to go deep five times off a reigning Cy Young winner since the 1997 Red Sox did so to Toronto's Pat Hentgen. … The Rays got homers from their Nos. 7-8-9 hitters (Casey Kotchman, Kelly Shoppach and Elliot Johnson) in the same game for the third time in franchise history — Jason Bartlett, B.J. Upton and Dan Johnson on Sept. 7, 2010; and Gabe Gross, Ben Zobrist and Shawn Riggans on Aug. 29, 2008. … The Rays got their only runs on the five solo homers for the second time in franchise history (also May 2, 2004, at Texas) and the 18th time in modern major-league history.
MISCELLANY: The grounds crew put the tarp on the field Saturday night with rain forecast for most of the day today, with a 40-50 percent chance in the afternoon. … TV host Todd Kalas will skip today's game to attend the unveiling at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia of a statue honoring his father, Harry, the former Phillies broadcaster who died in 2009. … Posada hadn't had six RBIs in a game since Sept. 6, 2006. … Maddon and Bucs coach Raheem Morris exchanged Saturday morning texts congratulating each other on their Friday victories.