Rays send five homers traveling through the Trop
ST. PETERSBURG -- Home runs flew through Tropicana Field on Saturday night, when the Rays clubbed five round-trippers en route to a 16-1 win over the Yankees.
After scoring just 10 runs from April 11-17 -- a period that saw them go 2-4 -- the Rays have scored 27 runs the past two nights to win two in a row and move to 9-9 on the season. They have won 10 of their last 13 games against the Yankees.
"We've been swinging the bats well the whole season without any luck," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're finally missing some people. We're getting some good pitches and not missing them. I'm really proud of our guys and the way they have hung through the first couple of weeks of the season and where things have really not gone our way in some regards offensively. Nevertheless, they've hung in there, and it was fun to watch."
Reigning American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers began the homer parade with a solo blast in the second, giving him his first homer of the season as he connected on a 1-1 curveball from Yankees starter Ivan Nova. The blast was Myers' first since Sept. 16, snapping a stretch of 113 at-bats without one.
Myers added a three-run homer off Matt Daley in the fifth, giving every indication that his early-season blues are coming to a close.
"Just taking some good swings on some good pitches," Myers said. "I'm not exactly where I want to be yet. There's still some things I can work on, approaches to the ball, but right now I feel pretty good."
Myers' second homer was, as Maddon likes to say, "properly struck."
"It was hit well, just got a good pitch to hit, stayed with my plan, got ahead 1-0 in that at-bat and it led to a good at-bat," said Myers, who thought Friday night's win "was a big spark" for the team. "Hitting is contagious. You saw that the last two nights."
Myers wasn't the only one to have a multi-homer game.
Ryan Hanigan homered to lead off the third and followed up with a two-run blast in the fourth.
Hanigan's six RBIs established a career high on a night when he recorded the third multi-homer game of his career.
"Offensively, I felt good, swinging at balls in the zone and attacking pitches I can handle," Hanigan said. "It was an awesome team win, top to bottom."
Evan Longoria hit his second homer of the season in the third, a two-run shot that put the Rays up, 4-0, while establishing him as the franchise home run leader, with 164.
Starter Chris Archer notched four scoreless frames before Kelly Johnson broke the spell with an RBI double in the fifth.
Archer allowed one run on three hits while striking out four in 6 2/3 innings to pick up his second win of the season. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees, becoming the second pitcher in the last 30 years to win his first four games against New York, joining Ervin Santana, who did it while pitching for the Angels from July 23, 2005, to Aug. 26, 2006.
"He was a strike-thrower tonight," Maddon said.
Since the start of the 2013 season, the Rays have a 15-1 mark when Archer lasts six or more innings in a start and 2-9 when he doesn't. On Saturday night, Archer showed a marked improvement over his previous start, when he allowed a career-high seven runs on 12 hits against the Orioles.
Nova "is an impressive pitcher," Archer said. "The fact that we got however many hits was awesome on our behalf. It's always fun to be on that end of the hit party as opposed to the one I was on last game."
The Rays hope to take the series on Sunday, although the Yankees have other thoughts.
"You'd love to [right the ship], especially going into a day off and then [going] to Boston, another series within the division," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The good thing is that tonight's game only counts as one, and it's been pretty lopsided in this series."
Though indeed the win only counted as one game for the Rays on Saturday night, the residue of this win could mean a lot to the offense in the coming months.
"This was a good statement win for us," Longoria said. "To be able to come out against Nova, who has given us trouble in the past, and put together an offensive performance like we did today, it's one of those games where you hope it kind of propels you going forward."