ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Kevin Cash said leadoff hitter Corey Dickerson is hunting for pitches right now, and in Saturday's 9-5 win over the Yankees, he found a couple that he was able to hit out of the park.Dickerson's two home runs gave him his 20th multi-hit game of
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Kevin Cash said leadoff hitter Corey Dickerson is hunting for pitches right now, and in Saturday's 9-5 win over the Yankees, he found a couple that he was able to hit out of the park.
Dickerson's two home runs gave him his 20th multi-hit game of the season -- best in the Majors -- and he has five dingers in the past four games.
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After giving up a leadoff home run to Dickerson, Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka tried to go down in the zone against him in the fourth inning, and the designated hitter responded with a three-run homer to right field that traveled a projected 442 feet, according to Statcast™.
"Corey Dickerson probably hit a pretty good pitch," Cash said. "Kind of a pitcher's pitch, but that's how locked in Corey is at the plate."
Dickerson has hit safely in 16 of his 18 games in May, and he has nine multi-hit games this month. His slash line has improved to .343/.394/.639.
His presence at the top of the Rays' lineup has sparked their offense early and often during this four-game win streak.
"Any time you hit a leadoff home run or get a run early in the first inning, it definitely helps the pitcher out," Dickerson said. "I was just looking for a good pitch to hit, trying to battle, really just trying to have a plan when I go up there and be consistent with that plan. And it worked out."
Dickerson is also getting plenty of respect from opposing pitchers. He was intentionally walked with runners on second and third in the second inning. And on his fourth trip to the plate, after his second home run, he was hit by an 87-mph fastball from Tommy Layne.
"No, I wasn't expecting it. I was looking for another good pitch to hit, and you know, it hit me," Dickerson said. "The only thing I didn't like about it was where it was located. I mean, if it was on purpose and he hit me, that's OK. I just took my base and went on about it."
Dickerson's approach has become infectious at the top of the Rays' batting order. Kevin Kiermaier, who was temporarily moved down to the eighth spot, is batting second again and is 11-for-31 (.355) in his past eight games. Evan Longoria has snapped out of a recent 0-for-13 slump by going 6-for-9 with a home run in the past two games.
"I think [our lineup] is always somewhat of a threat," Dickerson said. "[Kiermaier] is really starting to put together good at-bats, and he brings speed on the bases. Longo is Longo. He's going to be there, and his numbers will be there by the end of the season."
Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.