Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays 5, Rangers 4: Notes and quotes on a powerful night
Posted May 31, 2011 by Roger Mooney
Updated May 31, 2011 at 11:56 PM
BY ROGER MOONEY
ST. PETERSBURG The Rays used a page from the Rangers blueprint for success when all their runs in Tuesday’s 5-4 win came on home runs.
Sean Rodriguez hit his second of the season, Matt Joyce hit his ninth and Evan Longoria hit his fourth. Both Joyce and Longoria hit two run homers. Longoria’s came with two out in the bottom of the eighth.
The teams meet again this afternoon in the rubber match of this three-game series. It is also the final game of this six-game homestand for the Rays, who have won two of the first five.
Here are some postgame notes and quotes …
—Why was left-hander Arthur Rhodes pitching to Longoria in the eighth inning of a one-run game? Good question.
Rhodes came in to face Johnny Damon with two out. Damon lifted an opposite field single to left field. Texas manager Ron Washington said Rhodes had to face Longoria because he did not have closer Neftali Perez warming up.
It was something Washington regretted.
“My job is to get the right people in the right places, and I should have had Neftali ready regardless and brought him in against Longoria,” Washington said. “Then if Longoria gets Neftali it just happens.”
Longoria’s towering two-run homer was his first go-ahead home run of the season.
—Longoria is batting .500 with two home runs, a double, five walks and three RBIs in the four games since Maddon moved him to the leadoff spot. Longoria was moved to cleanup Tuesday and, ironically, found himself leading off three innings.
—Alex Cobb was much better in his second career start than his first, when he struggled against the Angels because he was tipping his pitches.
“The last time out the other team knew what was coming so that gave them somewhat of an advantage,” manager Joe Maddon said. “This time they did not.”
Cobb survived a shaky first inning and allowed four hits and three runs over 6 1/3. After allowing an RBO single in the third to Adrian Beltre, Cobb retired nine batters in a row and 10 of 11.
—Kyle Farnsworth recorded his 10th save with a perfect ninth inning. In save situation, Farnsworth has help opposing batters to a .152 average and has allowed just one run in 10 innings.
—Johnny Damon was 1-for-4 and has reached base in 25 straight games. It is the longest active streak in the AL and second longest in the majors, behind Florida’s Logan Morrison’s streak of 31 straight games.
—Rodriguez’s home run was his second since the third game of the season. He is batting .333 in his last 10 games.
—The win was the first against the Rangers in four games at the Trop. That includes last year’s ALDS.
—Tuesday was the final 6:40 p.m. midweek start of the season. The Rays averaged 14,867 fans in 12 dates. That includes the 52,147 that showed up over two games to see the Yankees. The Rays drew an average of 12,626 in the other 10 games.
—The Rays won for only the fifth time this year when being out-hit.
—The Rays finished May 13-12.
—Matt Joyce, who leads the majors with a .370 average, hit .414 in May. That’s the highest average for May in club history and second-highest for any month behind Fred McGriff’s .422 in July 1999.