MINNEAPOLIS -- Longo and LoMo aren't Mantle and Maris, nor are they Mays and McCovey, but for a fleeting moment in time on Sunday afternoon, the pair proved to be just as feared while dominating Twins pitching at Target Field."It is a little rare [to have two guys as hot
MINNEAPOLIS -- Longo and LoMo aren't Mantle and Maris, nor are they Mays and McCovey, but for a fleeting moment in time on Sunday afternoon, the pair proved to be just as feared while dominating Twins pitching at Target Field.
"It is a little rare [to have two guys as hot as Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison], but we'll gladly welcome it, because they're carrying a big load for us," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Whether there's guys on base or not, it seems like they're coming through."
Batting in the Nos. 3 and 4 spots, respectively, Longoria and Morrison each homered twice to account for all of the Rays' runs leading up to the ninth inning. Longora added an exclamation point with an RBI single in the ninth to give the Rays a two-run cushion heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Once the dust cleared, the Rays had a 7-5 win and they could swell their chests, having taken three out of four from the Twins over the weekend.
"Look, Evan Longoria has been a part of every great thing the Rays have every accomplished in their history -- I think Longo's been right in the thick of all of it," Cash said. "For a team that probably was in need of a player like that the last 10 days or two weeks, he has been just unbelievable how he's carried the load."
Morrison homered to right in his first at-bat, giving him a home run in three consecutive games for the second time in his career. He celebrated in his next at-bat by going deep to left field field, giving him his first multi-home run game since June 13, 2015, when he played for the Marlins in a series against the Astros.
Sunday brought Morrison his fourth career multi-home run game. He has now hit in nine consecutive games and is batting .362 (34-for-94) since the begining of May.
"When hits are falling, you take a step back and realize that it is about getting a good pitch to hit," Morrison said. "It's about taking a good swing at a good pitch to hit. Not just a good pitch, but a pitch you're looking for, or a pitch that's elevated.
"If you're sticking to your plan and you're putting a good swing on it, minus the results, I think the guys are going to be partying more than not after games."
Longoria homered to right in the sixth, extending his home run streak to four games. In doing so, he became the first player in club history to homer in each game of a four-game series. Longoria added a second home run in the eighth that put the Rays up, 5-4. Carlos Pena holds the club record by homering in six consecutive games. Edwin Encarnacion was the last opposing player to hit a home run in each game of a four-game series against the Twins. The Toronto slugger did so from Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2010. And, like Longoria, he hit five in the four-game series.
Longoria also owns a nine-game hitting streak. He has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 games, batting .344 (33-for-96) with eight doubles, eight home runs and 17 RBIs in that span.
As hard as he fought to do so, Longoria said he never did feel comfortable at the plate in 2015. He recently "altered" his swing "just a little bit," and he feels like he's on a roll.
"I definitely didn't feel as good [at any time in 2015] as I've felt this past two and a half weeks, or whatever it's been," Longoria said.
He also explained that he's "widened out" his stance a little bit.
"I think it's just enabled me to see the ball better," Longoria said. "It's kind of just one of those moments where you realize what you did early on in your career isn't going to work, or doesn't always work the whole time. It was a change that took place gradually. But now I feel like I'm in a really good spot.
"I'm just seeing the ball well. And allowing myself to get into hitters' counts and taking advantage of those counts. So, it was kind of a change that took place, maybe 20 games in. ... It's tough to change what you've done and had success with for so long, but I had some success with the little change that I've made, and now I've just kind of gone to it full time. It's just put me in a good spot."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.