ST. PETERSBURG -- Down 3-0 to the Orioles in the third inning on Saturday, the Rays tied the game in a way more characteristic of this team than any others in the Majors: with back-to-back homers.As Evan Longoria followed up Corey Dickerson's long ball with the solo shot that knotted
ST. PETERSBURG -- Down 3-0 to the Orioles in the third inning on Saturday, the Rays tied the game in a way more characteristic of this team than any others in the Majors: with back-to-back homers.
As Evan Longoria followed up Corey Dickerson's long ball with the solo shot that knotted the score in an eventual 8-3 loss to the Orioles, the Rays set a franchise record with their 10th back-to-back jacks of the season.
Only five other teams in MLB history have achieved the feat 10 times by the end of June. The Orioles pulled it off last year, but before that, it had been 15 years since another team had consecutive homers on 10 occasions by June's end.
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"More coincidence than anything, but when you have a bunch of guys that hit the ball out of the ballpark, you're going to run into some back-to-backs," manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays have five players with 10 or more home runs, and Colby Rasmus is one round-tripper away from joining that group. The Astros lead the Majors with seven players producing double-digit home run totals.
"I think it's just a lot of guys having a good approach at the plate, and a lot of people in our lineup are able to go deep," Dickerson said, explaining the Rays' achievement. "That's a unique thing, a lot of lineups don't have that. Somebody can go deep any night, any part of the lineup."
There's also a small boost for a hitter coming to the plate immediately after his teammate sends one over the fence, Dickerson said.
"I mean, hitting is contagious," Dickerson said. "I think having a rally going, scoring some runs, tends to lead to better at-bats, a little more focus instead of a bunch of outs taking place. [Then] you get lackadaisical, you get out of your approach trying to do something else. You stay with your approach and good things happen."
While back-to-back homers seem to surface every once in a few weeks for the Rays, Dickerson getting on base is a near-constant event this year. With 97 hits through 77 games, Dickerson is on pace to become the first player in franchise history with 200 hits in a season. The Rays are the only team in baseball that has never had a player with a 200-hit season.
The left-handed batsman entered Saturday with the most hits, extra-base hits and multi-hit games in the American League. His .330 average is second in the AL behind Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.
Dickerson sat in third place in the All-Star voting for the designated hitter position in the latest ballot update. He trailed the Yankees' Matthew Holliday by about 1,000 votes and the Mariners' Nelson Cruz by fewer than 200,000 votes.
Fans can vote for Dickerson on the Esurance MLB All-Star Game ballot, available online until the end of the day Thursday.
Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.