NEW YORK -- Evan Longoria broke up a perfect-game bid -- finally.The longest-tenured Rays player is in his 10th Major League season. In his rearview mirror, there are numerous great performances and games. He's also made three outs in each of the perfect games against the Rays during that period.In
NEW YORK -- Evan Longoria broke up a perfect-game bid -- finally.
The longest-tenured Rays player is in his 10th Major League season. In his rearview mirror, there are numerous great performances and games. He's also made three outs in each of the perfect games against the Rays during that period.
In Monday afternoon's 8-1 Rays loss at Yankee Stadium, Yankees starter Michael Pineda had that look, the same one shared by Mark Buehrle (July 23, 2009, for the White Sox), Dallas Braden (May 9, 2010, for the A's) and Felix Hernandez (Aug. 15, 2012, for the Mariners), when they threw perfect games against the Rays.
Longoria went 0-for-9 with four strikeouts in those games.
Pineda had logged 6 2/3 flawless innings when Longoria stepped into the box for his third at-bat with two outs in the seventh inning, having already struck out twice.
Pineda threw an 86.6 mph slider on the first pitch and Longoria lined the ball into left field for a double, ending the suspense of whether Pineda would join the club of hurlers who had thrown perfect games against the Rays.
"Thinking about getting a hit," said Longoria of the at-bat. "I was just ... you kind of know what you're going to get. You guessing first-pitch fastball, first-pitch slider. Those are the only two he was executing. And I just guessed slider on that pitch and he made a mistake. It was the one he left up.
"...It's kind of a guessing game. It's one of those things, if he throws it down and away, like he'd done the whole game, I might roll over. I might swing and miss like I'd done before. But I was looking for it right there and I got it."
Longoria did not deny that the baggage of the three previous perfect games were rattling around in his head.
"Of course," Longoria said. "You can definitely start to feel it at Yankee Stadium; the fans kind of let you know the intensity in that game. Once he got through the fifth inning, the intensity when he was out on the mound definitely started to ramp up.
"So it's kind of a battle when you're in those situations to calm yourself down. It seems like there so much more riding on each pitch. When he got to two strikes, he did a good job of putting guys away, too."
The Yankees saw Longoria and thought Pineda might just pull it off.
"A lot of people would say that: You pass their best hitter, you've got a good shot at it," catcher Austin Romine said. "A lot of people were thinking that, I know I was thinking that. Longo, you don't want him to beat you, but he's a great hitter."
Added Brett Gardner: "It just wasn't meant to be, but Mike threw a great game and it was a lot of fun for us to watch."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.