BOSTON -- In light of some mid-October-like weather at Fenway Park on Friday night, Evan Longoria continued to heat up.As temperatures dipped into the low 50s, the Tampa Bay third baseman went 2-for-4 for his fifth multi-hit game of May, and delivered the crushing blow of the night, a two-run
BOSTON -- In light of some mid-October-like weather at Fenway Park on Friday night, Evan Longoria continued to heat up.
As temperatures dipped into the low 50s, the Tampa Bay third baseman went 2-for-4 for his fifth multi-hit game of May, and delivered the crushing blow of the night, a two-run homer in the fifth that put the Rays up 5-0, before sneaking away with a 5-4 victory against the Red Sox.
"When we were at home, early in the homestand, you could see [Longoria] wasn't getting a ton of hits to show for it, but he's starting to hit some balls the other way to right-center," manager Kevin Cash said. "I think when you look at Longo's track record, when he starts doing that, it's probably a pretty good sign of some things to come."
Longoria, who hit .208 over 26 games in April, doubled in the first inning and reached on an error in the fourth, eventually coming around to score the first run of the night.
He stepped into the box with a man on second in the fifth inning, and took an 0-1 fastball from Rick Porcello over the Green Monster.
Longoria's fifth home run traveled an estimated 406 feet and left the bat with an exit velocity of 103 mph according to Statcast™.
"That was huge," said starter Alex Cobb, who earned the win. "That felt like we separated ourselves a little bit."
Following his two-hit performance, Longoria was hitting .325 in May.
"I was searching for my swing a lot the first month of the season," he said. "Hitting is a lot of feel for me. When I'm not feeling great, I'm always searching for something new or different to try. As of late, I've felt good. I feel like when I go in the box, my stance and setup and swing is where it needs to be. When you do that, you can focus on just seeing the ball and hitting the ball, versus worrying about where my hands are or my setup is."
As he continues heating up at the plate, it certainly doesn't hurt that he's at Fenway Park.
Longoria's home run was the 17th he has hit out of the Boston landmark, good enough for second most by an opposing player, and is complemented by a .275 average, 53 RBIs and 20 doubles in his career in Boston.
"I've just played a lot of games here," Longoria said, following Friday's game, his 80th at Fenway. "I've faced their pitching quite a bit. That in itself gives you a little bit of comfort. It's always tough to play here. The fans are fun to play in front of, and are always into the game and all over me. That definitely narrows the focus a little bit, makes you stay in the game and want to succeed. If you don't, they're definitely all over you."
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.