ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -Personal accomplishments are nice, but
is more interested in what his performance means to the
Tampa Bay Rays
The All-Star third baseman tied a club record for home runs by a rookie, hitting No. 21 and driving in three runs Saturday
night to help the AL East leaders maintain their three-game lead in the division with a 9-3 victory over the
Longoria, who's hitting .280 with 67 RBIs after beginning the season in the minors, also homered in the Rays' 5-2 win over
Detroit the previous night. He has five home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 14 games.
''It's exciting ... and I'll have time to enjoy (personal accoloades) in the offseason, but what we're doing right now as
a team is a little more exciting,'' Longoria said.
''He's one of the best young players in all of baseball. There's no question about that,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
''I saw him at the All-Star game. Had a chance to meet him. A very pleasant young man. Very impressive. I like him a lot because
he's a two-way player. A great third baseman, and a very, very good offensive player. He's a total package.''
contributed a two-run single for the Rays, who have won four straight and set a franchise record for home wins in a season
(42) before a sellout crowd of 36,048 at Tropicana Field.
At 65-44, they have the second-best record in baseball and are just one victory shy of matching their total for last year,
when they were a major-league worst 66-96. They lead Boston by three games and third-place New York by 5 1-2 in the AL East.
(11-6) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, ending a three-game losing streak in which he gave up 14 runs and 22
hits in 19 innings. He hadn't won since combining with J.P. Howell and
to shut out Kansas City on five hits July 5.
Longoria had a RBI double during a four-run second inning against
(8-8) and a run-scoring single off
in the fourth. He led off the sixth against
with his home run.
was 3-for-3, including an RBI double off
, for Detroit.
had an RBI double and
added a run-scoring single off Sonnanstine when the Tigers trimmed Tampa Bay's lead to 4-2 in third.
But with Rogers struggling from the beginning, when he walked two and hit a batter to load the bases in the first inning,
the Rays pulled away for good with three runs off the Tigers' starter in the fourth.
The 43-year-old left-hander gave up a RBI double to B.J. Upton before Crawford's two-run single and Longoria's double made
it 4-0 in the second. Longoria's fourth-inning single off Dolsi drove in the sixth run charged to Rogers, who fanned a season-high
eight while giving up seven runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings.
''I would have loved to stay out there a little longer and try to find my way out of that last inning, but it's my own fault
for not keep my pitch total down and getting into too many jams,'' said Rogers, who threw 109 pitches.
The Tigers wasted an opportunity to gain ground on Chicago and Minnesota in the AL Central. Their third straight loss dropped
them to 55-55.
''We have 11 hits, three runs. They have 11 hits, nine runs. That's not good,'' said Leyland, whose batters are 2-for-20 with
runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series.
''We just haven't done the job. You've got to go out and win ballgames,'' the manager added. ''We've hung around (.500) and
got a little over. We just haven't been able to take the next step to get something really rolling.''
Notes: Sharon Robinson, daughter of Hall of Famer
, threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of African-American Celebration Night. ... The sellout, which could be attributed
in part to a postgame concert featuring LL Cool J, was a club-record fifth this season. All of the tickets were gone by last
Tuesday, making it the earliest the Rays have sold out a home game since their inaugural game in 1998. ... Tigers reliever
has tenderness in his upper right arm-shoulder area and will not be unavailable to pitch for at least a few days. ... The
Rays have not decided if OF
, on the 60-day disabled list with a disorder that causes muscle fatigue, will be activated. He finished a rehab assignment
at Double-A Montgomery on Friday night. If he returns, it most likely will be in a limited role, rather than as an everyday