ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Evan Longoria is off to a strong start in his rookie season.
It was Longoria’s first career multihomer game. The third baseman hit a three-run shot during a four-run first, and had a two-run drive in a five-run second. He also hit a fourth-inning sacrifice fly.
“This is just flashes of what he’s capable of doing,” Rays first baseman Carlos Pena said.
Longoria leads the Rays in home runs with seven since his making his major-league debut on April 12.
“I’ve been feeling good in the (batters) box whether or not I’ve been getting results,” said Longoria, who is hitting .241 with 26 RBIs in 39 games.
Pena added three RBIs for the Rays, who are 21-9 since April 22, and improved to a franchise best nine games over .500 at 29-20. Tampa Bay has won 14 of its last 15 games at home.
Edwin Jackson (3-3) allowed three runs and four hits in five innings. The right-hander struggled with his control, walking five, including four of his first six batters, and striking out two.
“It’s one of those days when you feel bad, and you look bad,” Jackson said. “Get that offensive support, it’s definitely a good feeling.”
Jackson had given up one run over 20 1-3 innings in his previous three starts, but got a no decision in each outing when the Rays’ bullpen lost the lead. Tampa Bay eventally won two of those three games.
Orioles manager Dave Trembley held a team meeting and revamped his lineup, giving second baseman Brian Roberts, right fielder Nick Markakis and catcher Ramon Hernandez a “mental day” off. The Orioles scored just one run in their previous three games. Freddie Bynum replaced Roberts as the leadoff hitter, Jay Peyton started in right and Guillermo Quiroz was the catcher.
Baltimore loaded the bases—on three walks—with one out in the first, but failed to score whne Luke Scott hit into a double play. The Orioles have lost four of five.
“We need to start scoring some runs,” Trembley said. “Our pitching, up to today, has been very good. It would be nice to end this tomorrow and build from there.”
Pena had an RBI double and Longoria hit a three-run homer off Steve Trachsel (2-5) to put the Rays ahead 4-0 in the first.
Quiroz got the Orioles within 4-1 on a second-inning RBI single. The Rays responded with five runs in the bottom of the second, coming on B.J. Upton’s two-run double, Pena’s run-scoring triple and a two-run homer by Longoria that chased Traschel.
“I’d say he was more than impressive,” Trembley said of Longoria. “He looked like he knew what was coming at every at-bat.”
Trachsel pitching for the first time since May 9, gave up nine runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings. He is 0-4 in six career starts against Tampa Bay.
“I might be tipping my pitches,” Trachsel said. “That’s the only thing I can come up with. If that’s not it, then we’ve got some serious things to figure out.”
Trachsel’s spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy.
“I definitely think that’s something we need to consider,” Trembley said.
Scott hit a two-run homer in the third to pull Baltimore within 9-3. It ended a 31-inning home run drought by the Orioles.
Pena had a run-scoring single and Longoria hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth that extended the Rays advantage to 11-3.
Payton drove in a run with a double in the eighth.
Tampa Bay is 25-14 since Longoria joined the team from Triple-A Durham. … Scott’s third-inning homer was the Orioles’ 75,000 hit in franchise history. … Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Rays DH Cliff Floyd snapped an 0-for-16 slide with a broken-bat single to center in the fourth.