Longoria rediscovering power stroke

Rays third baseman rips second homer in two games

May 1st, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria is again swinging for the fences.

At least that's the way it's looking in the early going for the Rays' slugger.

For the second time in as many days, Longoria delivered a game-tying home run Sunday in the Rays' 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.

Longoria's blast -- his fifth of the season -- came with one out in the sixth against Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. He also flashed the leather with a backhand stop and throw to retire Josh Donaldson in the seventh.

"I've always said you can't really swing for them," Longoria said. "They just kind of come. I'm hitting mistakes better at this point. But I'd like them to come with some runners in scoring position. It's all about timely hitting and I just haven't been doing a very good job of that. And overall we need to get better as a team. So I think that's the goal right now."

Longoria had just one homer on May 1 last season and did not have five until May 22. He has not had as many as five home runs on May 1 since 2013 when he had six. He finished with 32 that season.

"Personally, I feel good," Longoria said.

In 2009, Longoria had the most home runs of his career by May 1 with seven. He went on to hit a career-high 33 that season.

Last season, Longoria often expressed how he felt he was fighting his swing, which makes the way he feels at this juncture promising for the Rays.

"I don't really feel like I'm fighting my swing, which is a good feeling," Longoria said. "The results are what they are. I think they'll come around. Last year was kind of a battle every day with my swing. When you're not going through that, it's a lot better feeling knowing that it's just one or two at-bats away from getting things clicking."

Longoria has not hit home runs in back-to-back games since Sept. 2 and Sept. 4. Rays manager Kevin Cash likes what he's seeing from Longoria.

"I think he looks good," Cash said. "You know he had a quiet spell there. But even in [last weekend's series in] New York, some of his swings were really good. And from the side you're like, 'Man, he's just missing those balls.'"

Cash said the Baltimore series to begin the homestand saw Longoria "get out of his zone a little bit."

"Expanded on some pitches," Cash said. "In a way, that's OK. We want Longo up there looking to do damage. You look at the good hitters, they expand, because they know they're capable of doing damage."

Cash then summed up how he feels about the way Longoria is going: "His swing looks good."